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France (2001)

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France 2001 year

Administrative divisions 22 regions (regions, singular - region); Alsace, Aquitaine, Auvergne, Basse-Normandie, Bourgogne, Bretagne, Centre, Champagne-Ardenne, Corse, Franche-Comte, Haute-Normandie, Ile-de-France, Languedoc-Roussillon, Limousin, Lorraine, Midi-Pyrenees, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Pays de la Loire, Picardie, Poitou-Charentes, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, Rhone-Alpes

metropolitan France is divided into 22 regions (including the "territorial collectivity" of Corse or Corsica) and is subdivided into 96 departments; see separate entries for the overseas departments (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion) and the overseas territorial collectivities (Mayotte, Saint Pierre and Miquelon)
Age structure 0-14 years:
18.68% (male 5,698,604; female 5,426,838)

15-64 years:
65.19% (male 19,424,018; female 19,399,588)

65 years and over:
16.13% (male 3,900,579; female 5,701,600) (2001 est.)
Agriculture - products wheat, cereals, sugar beets, potatoes, wine grapes; beef, dairy products; fish
Airports 475 (2000 est.)
Airports - with paved runways total:

over 3,047 m:

2,438 to 3,047 m:

1,524 to 2,437 m:

914 to 1,523 m:

under 914 m:
58 (2000 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways total:

1,524 to 2,437 m:

914 to 1,523 m:

under 914 m:
130 (2000 est.)
Area total:
547,030 sq km

545,630 sq km

1,400 sq km

includes only metropolitan France, but excludes the overseas administrative divisions
Area - comparative slightly less than twice the size of Colorado
Background Although ultimately a victor in World Wars I and II, France suffered extensive losses in its empire, wealth, manpower, and rank as a dominant nation-state. Nevertheless, France today is one of the most modern countries in the world and is a leader among European nations. Since 1958, it has constructed a presidential democracy resistant to the instabilities experienced in earlier parliamentary democracies. In recent years, its reconciliation and cooperation with Germany have proved central to the economic integration of Europe, including the advent of the euro in January 1999. Presently, France is at the forefront of European states seeking to exploit the momentum of monetary union to advance the creation of a more unified and capable European defense and security apparatus.
Birth rate 12.1 births/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Budget revenues:
$210 billion

$240 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
Capital Paris
Climate generally cool winters and mild summers, but mild winters and hot summers along the Mediterranean; occasional strong, cold, dry, north-to-northwesterly wind known as mistral
Coastline 3,427 km
Constitution 28 September 1958, amended concerning election of president in 1962, amended to comply with provisions of EC Maastricht Treaty in 1992; amended to tighten immigration laws 1993
Country name conventional long form:
French Republic

conventional short form:

local long form:
Republique Francaise

local short form:
Currency French franc (FRF); euro (EUR)

on 1 January 1999, the EU introduced the euro as a common currency that is now being used by financial institutions in France at a fixed rate of 6.55957 French francs per euro and will replace the local currency for all transactions in 2002
Death rate 9.09 deaths/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Debt - external $106 billion (1998)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission:
Ambassador-designate Howard H. LEACH; Charge d'Affaires Douglas L. McELHANEY

2 Avenue Gabriel, 75382 Paris Cedex 08

mailing address:
PSC 116, APO AE 09777

[33] (1) 43-12-22-22

[33] (1) 42 66 97 83

consulate(s) general:
Marseille, Strasbourg
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission:
Ambassador Francois V. BUJON DE L'ESTANG

4101 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007

[1] (202) 944-6000

[1] (202) 944-6166

consulate(s) general:
Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, and San Francisco
Disputes - international Madagascar claims Bassas da India, Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island, and Tromelin Island; Comoros claims Mayotte; Mauritius claims Tromelin Island; territorial dispute between Suriname and French Guiana; territorial claim in Antarctica (Adelie Land); Matthew and Hunter Islands east of New Caledonia claimed by France and Vanuatu
Economic aid - donor ODA, $6.3 billion (1997)
Economy - overview France is in the midst of transition, from an economy that featured extensive government ownership and intervention to one that relies more on market mechanisms. The government remains dominant in some sectors, particularly power, public transport, and defense industries, but it has been relaxing its control since the mid-1980s. The Socialist-led government has sold off part of its holdings in France Telecom, Air France, Thales, Thomson Multimedia, and the European Aerospace and Defense Company (EADS). The telecommunications sector is gradually being opened to competition. France's leaders remain committed to a capitalism in which they maintain social equity by means of laws, tax policies, and social spending that reduce income disparity and the impact of free markets on public health and welfare. The government has done little to cut generous unemployment and retirement benefits which impose a heavy tax burden and discourage hiring. It has also shied from measures that would dramatically increase the use of stock options and retirement investment plans; such measures would boost the stock market and fast-growing IT firms as well as ease the burden on the pension system, but would disproportionately benefit the rich. In addition to the tax burden, the reduction of the work week to 35-hours has drawn criticism for lowering the competitiveness of French companies.
Electricity - consumption 398.752 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - exports 68.7 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - imports 5 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - production 497.26 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source fossil fuel:



0.49% (1999)
Elevation extremes lowest point:
Rhone River delta -2 m

highest point:
Mont Blanc 4,807 m
Environment - current issues some forest damage from acid rain (major forest damage occurred as a result of severe December 1999 windstorm); air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from urban wastes, agricultural runoff
Environment - international agreements party to:
Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified:
Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Ethnic groups Celtic and Latin with Teutonic, Slavic, North African, Indochinese, Basque minorities
Exchange rates euros per US dollar - 1.0659 (January 2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999); French francs per US dollar - 5.65 (January 1999), 5.8995 (1998), 5.8367 (1997), 5.1155 (1996)
Executive branch chief of state:
President Jacques CHIRAC (since 17 May 1995)

head of government:
Prime Minister Lionel JOSPIN (since 3 June 1997)

Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the suggestion of the prime minister

president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term; election last held 23 April and 7 May 1995 (next to be held by May 2002); prime minister nominated by the National Assembly majority and appointed by the president

election results:
Jacques CHIRAC elected president; percent of vote, second ballot - Jacques CHIRAC (RPR) 52.64%, Lionel JOSPIN (PS) 47.36%
Exports 68.7 billion kWh (1999)
Exports $325 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Exports - commodities machinery and transportation equipment, aircraft, plastics, chemicals, pharmaceutical products, iron and steel, beverages
Exports - partners EU 63% (Germany 16%, UK 10%, Spain 9%, Italy 9%, Belgium-Luxembourg 8%), US 8% (1999)
Fiscal year calendar year
Flag description three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), white, and red; known as the French Tricouleur (Tricolor); the design and/or colors are similar to a number of other flags, including those of Belgium, Chad, Ireland, Cote d'Ivoire, Luxembourg, and Netherlands; the official flag for all French dependent areas
GDP purchasing power parity - $1.448 trillion (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector agriculture:


70.6% (1999)
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $24,400 (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 3.1% (2000 est.)
Geographic coordinates 46 00 N, 2 00 E
Geography - note largest West European nation
Heliports 3 (2000 est.)
Highways total:
892,900 km

892,900 km (including 9,900 km of expressways)

0 km (1999)
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%:

highest 10%:
25.1% (1995)
Illicit drugs transshipment point for and consumer of South American cocaine, Southwest Asian heroin, and European synthetics
Imports 5 billion kWh (1999)
Imports $320 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Imports - commodities machinery and equipment, vehicles, crude oil, aircraft, plastics, chemicals
Imports - partners EU 62% (Germany 16%, Belgium-Luxembourg 11%, Italy 9%, UK 8%), US 7% (2000 est.)
Independence 486 (unified by Clovis)
Industrial production growth rate 3.5% (2000 est.)
Industries machinery, chemicals, automobiles, metallurgy, aircraft, electronics; textiles, food processing; tourism
Infant mortality rate 4.46 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 1.7% (2000 est.)
International organization participation ACCT, AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, BDEAC, BIS, CCC, CDB (non-regional), CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECA (associate), ECE, ECLAC, EIB, EMU, ESA, ESCAP, EU, FAO, FZ, G- 5, G- 7, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, InOC, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MINURSO, MIPONUH, MONUC, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, SPC, UN, UN Security Council, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNIKOM, UNITAR, UNMEE, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNTAET, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WADB (nonregional), WCL, WEU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 62 (2000)
Irrigated land 16,300 sq km (1995 est.)
Judicial branch Supreme Court of Appeals or Cour de Cassation (judges are appointed by the president from nominations of the High Council of the Judiciary); Constitutional Council or Conseil Constitutionnel (three members appointed by the president, three appointed by the president of the National Assembly, and three appointed by the president of the Senate); Council of State or Conseil d'Etat
Labor force 25 million (2000)
Labor force - by occupation services 71%, industry 25%, agriculture 4% (1997)
Land boundaries total:
2,889 km

border countries:
Andorra 56.6 km, Belgium 620 km, Germany 451 km, Italy 488 km, Luxembourg 73 km, Monaco 4.4 km, Spain 623 km, Switzerland 573 km
Land use arable land:

permanent crops:

permanent pastures:

forests and woodland:

18% (1993 est.)
Languages French 100%, rapidly declining regional dialects and languages (Provencal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish)
Legal system civil law system with indigenous concepts; review of administrative but not legislative acts
Legislative branch bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate or Senat (321 seats - 296 for metropolitan France, 13 for overseas departments and territories, and 12 for French nationals abroad; members are indirectly elected by an electoral college to serve nine-year terms; elected by thirds every three years) and the National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (577 seats; members are elected by popular vote under a single-member majoritarian system to serve five-year terms)

Senate - last held 27 September 1998 (next to be held September 2001); National Assembly - last held 25 May-1 June 1997 (next to be held NA May 2002)

election results:
Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - RPR 99, UDC 52, DL 47, PS 78, PCF 16, other 29; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PS 245, RPR 140, UDF 109, PCF 37, PRS 13, MEI 8, MDC 7, LDI-MPF 1, FN 1, various left 9, various right 7
Life expectancy at birth total population:
78.9 years

75.01 years

83.01 years (2001 est.)
Literacy definition:
age 15 and over can read and write

total population:


99% (1980 est.)
Location Western Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay and English Channel, between Belgium and Spain, southeast of the UK; bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Italy and Spain
Map references Europe
Maritime claims contiguous zone:
24 NM

continental shelf:
200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation

exclusive economic zone:
200 NM (does not apply to the Mediterranean)

territorial sea:
12 NM
Merchant marine total:
46 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 942,333 GRT/1,304,754 DWT

ships by type:
bulk 3, cargo 4, chemical tanker 6, combination bulk 1, container 1, liquefied gas 3, multi-functional large-load carrier 1, passenger 3, petroleum tanker 17, roll on/roll off 4, short-sea passenger 3

includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Germany 1 (2000 est.)
Military branches Army (includes Marines), Navy (includes Naval Air), Air Force (includes Air Defense), National Gendarmerie
Military expenditures - dollar figure $39.831 billion (FY97)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 2.5% (FY97)
Military manpower - availability males age 15-49:
14,573,199 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service males age 15-49:
12,127,793 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - military age 18 years of age
Military manpower - reaching military age annually males:
390,064 (2001 est.)
National holiday Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)
Nationality noun:
Frenchman(men), Frenchwoman(women)

Natural hazards flooding; avalanches
Natural resources coal, iron ore, bauxite, zinc, potash, timber, fish
Net migration rate 0.64 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Pipelines crude oil 3,059 km; petroleum products 4,487 km; natural gas 24,746 km
Political parties and leaders Citizens Movement or MdC [Jean Pierre CHEVENEMENT]; French Communist Party or PCF [Robert HUE]; Independent Ecological Movement or MEI [Antoine WAECHTER]; Left Radical Party or PRG (previously Radical Socialist Party or PRS and the Left Radical Movement or MRG) [Jean-Michel BAYLET]; Liberal Democracy or DL (originally Republican Party or PR) [Alain MADELIN]; Movement for France or MPF [Philippe DEVILLIERS]; National Front or FN [Jean-Marie LE PEN]; Rally for the Republic or RPR [Michelle ALLIOT-MARIE]; Socialist Party or PS [Francois HOLLANDE]; Union for French Democracy or UDF (coalition of UDC, FD, RRRS, PPDF) [Francois BAYROU]; Union of the Center or UDC [leader NA]
Political pressure groups and leaders Communist-controlled labor union (Confederation Generale du Travail) or CGT, nearly 2.4 million members (claimed); independent labor union or Force Ouvriere, 1 million members (est.); independent white-collar union or Confederation Generale des Cadres, 340,000 members (claimed); National Council of French Employers (Conseil National du Patronat Francais) or CNPF or Patronat; Socialist-leaning labor union (Confederation Francaise Democratique du Travail) or CFDT, about 800,000 members (est.)
Population 59,551,227 (July 2001 est.)
Population below poverty line NA%
Population growth rate 0.37% (2001 est.)
Ports and harbors Bordeaux, Boulogne, Cherbourg, Dijon, Dunkerque, La Pallice, Le Havre, Lyon, Marseille, Mullhouse, Nantes, Paris, Rouen, Saint Nazaire, Saint Malo, Strasbourg
Radio broadcast stations AM 41, FM about 3,500 (this figure is an approximation and includes many repeaters), shortwave 2 (1998)
Radios 55.3 million (1997)
Railways total:
31,939 km (31,939 km are operated by French National Railways (SNCF); 14,176 km of SNCF routes are electrified and 12,132 km are double- or multiple-tracked)

standard gauge:
31,840 km 1.435-m gauge

narrow gauge:
99 km 1.000-m gauge (1998)
Religions Roman Catholic 90%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim (North African workers) 3%, unaffiliated 4%
Sex ratio at birth:
1.06 male(s)/female

under 15 years:
1.05 male(s)/female

15-64 years:
1 male(s)/female

65 years and over:
0.68 male(s)/female

total population:
0.95 male(s)/female (2001 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment:
highly developed

extensive cable and microwave radio relay; extensive introduction of fiber-optic cable; domestic satellite system

satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (with total of 5 antennas - 2 for Indian Ocean and 3 for Atlantic Ocean), NA Eutelsat, 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region); HF radiotelephone communications with more than 20 countries
Telephones - main lines in use 34.86 million (yearend 1998)
Telephones - mobile cellular 11.078 million (yearend 1998)
Television broadcast stations 584 (plus 9,676 repeaters) (1995)
Terrain mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in north and west; remainder is mountainous, especially Pyrenees in south, Alps in east
Total fertility rate 1.75 children born/woman (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate 9.7% (2000 est.)
Waterways 14,932 km (6,969 km heavily traveled)
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