Vi er i France

Vi er i France

A largely urban society located in the heart of Europe

SOS Children's Village Ste Luce near Nantes (Photo: SOS archives)

The French Republic is bounded by Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany to the north-east, by Germany, Switzerland, and Italy to east, by the Mediterranean Sea to the south, by Spain and Andorra to the south-west, and by the Atlantic Ocean to the west. France also has a number of overseas departments and territories, which, legally, are part of the French Republic.

The population of France is 65.5 million (2013 est.) and has one of the highest fertility rates within the European Union. The life expectancy for women is 84.4 years and for men is 78.2 years. Present-day France is ethnically, religiously and linguistically varied. Most of the people – 85 per cent of the population – live in urban areas, of which the capital city of Paris is the biggest with over ten million inhabitants.

Pockets of deprivation in one of the world's largest economic powers

Children and young people at risk

SOS Children's Villages in Marange-Silvange (Photo: SOS archives)

Children who are at risk of losing parental care include those who are brought up by one parent (30 per cent of these families are poor), those who come from large families or whose parents have low-paid and unstable jobs.

Young people between the ages of 15 and 25 face a number of problems. A significant number drop out of school. The rate of unemployment among this age group is 22 per cent, and there is a higher level of poverty. The transition into adulthood is slow – the school system does not meet the needs of the labour market, thus making the integration into the job market difficult.

The conditions for young people from the “Zones Urbaines Sensibles” are particularly precarious: 40 per cent of the inhabitants of these areas are under 25 years old. Young people living here are more likely to face unemployment than their peers who live elsewhere, and only a fifth have graduated from secondary school (in contrast to 32 per cent of those who live outside these areas).

SOS Children's Villages in France