Area:: 549 km2
Total Population:: 62.616
Annual growth rate:: 1.00%
Urban population:: 78%
Population of Paris (11.599), Lyon (6.066), Marseille (4.864), Lille (4.022), Nantes (3.483), Bordeaux (3.151), Rennes (3.120), Toulouse (2.811)
Official language: French
Other languages spoken: The regional languages (Breton, Corsican, Catalan, etc.) are only spoken locally and by a minority of French people.
Business language: According to the type of company contacted, its geographical location and sector of activity, it may be difficult to find someone who speaks English.
Ethnic Origins:: A mix of Celtic and Latin peoples with North African, African and Asian minorities.
Beliefs: Catholics 62%, Protestants 1%, Jews 1%, Muslims 6%, No religion 26%.
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Internet suffix:: .fr
Type of State:
Republic, parliamentary democracy combined with presidential power.
Type of economy:
High-income economy, OECD member, G8 member
The world's leading tourist destination; one of the top ten export powers of the world; a relatively high unemployment rate
The international financial crisis of 2009 led France into a recession, the French economy shrinking by 2.5%. The country has nonetheless resisted this development better than the eurozone average, thanks to a more diversified economy a more solid banking system, as well as a massive stimulus plan. The GDP improved in 2010, with a growth estimated at 1.6% which should remain on this low level throughout 2011. The recovery was essentially driven by the resumption of international trade.
In the perspective of the next year’s presidential election, the economic policy pursued by the Sarkozy administration is focused on reclaiming the disgruntled electorate. The government’s priority is the restoration of public finances through a policy of budgetary restraint. At the same time, measures to promote return to work, investment and exports will also continue to be pursued.
Due to the crisis, the unemployment rate, which is estimated at 10% in 2010, has reached its highest level in 10 years.
France is the biggest agricultural power in the European Union, accounting for a quarter of its total agricultural production, and the second agricultural power in the world after the United States. Nevertheless, the agricultural sector only represents a very small part of the country's GDP. It receives significant subsidies, especially from the European Union. Wheat, corn, meat and wine are France's main agricultural products.
France's manufacturing industry is varied, however, the country is in the middle of undergoing a de-industrialization process which translates into numerous relocations. The key industrial sectors in France are telecommunications, electronics, cars, aerospace and weapons.
The tertiary sector represents about three-fourths of the French GDP and employs almost 75% of the active workforce. France is the leading-tourist destination in the world with more than 75 million foreign tourists every year.
Foreign trade overview
France is one of the 10 leading exporters in the world, exports accounting for more than 50% of the country's GDP.
However, the country registers a strong trade deficit. Imports are developing quickly, as the French population buys a lot of imported goods which are sold relatively cheaply on the local market in comparison to products "Made in France". In addition to this, despite the government's efforts to favor innovation, French exports have relatively low added value.
In 2009, under the effects of the economic recession, both exports and imports devreased. Exports, however, rebounded in 2010 with the resumption of Asian trade, and imports have risen dramatically in response to the upturn in activity.
France's main trade partners are the European Union, the United States and China.
France ranks third in the world in attracting Foreign Direct Investments. Paris is the second city in the world, after Tokyo, in terms of establishment of multinational headquarters. It has about 500. Nevertheless, the country showed a decline in foreign investment due to the deterioration of the international economic situation; this should however improve with the economic recovery.
The country's strengths include: its position as a fifth world's largest power, its highly skilled workforce, industrial base and agricultural resources and its geographic location in the center of Europe.