To analyse. At the start of the presidential campaign, the speeches of candidates on the right and on the far right give the feeling of a country open to the four winds, undergoing migratory flows without any kind of power towards them. Thus, Valérie Pécresse wants “Stop uncontrolled immigration” and believes that“There are too many immigrants in France” ; Michel Barnier defends the idea of a “Moratorium”, when Xavier Bertrand wants “That we take control of our migration policy” and that Marine Le Pen intends to submit to the French a “Comprehensive immigration control plan”.
Is France so overwhelmed? Today there are 6.8 million immigrants for 67.3 million inhabitants, or 10.2% of the population (10.5% to 12% including the 300,000 to 600,000 illegal immigrants), against 7 , 4% in 1975 and 5% in 1946. These immigrants are, according to the definition of the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, people born abroad abroad, which means that among them , there are people who have become French (36%). To facilitate international comparisons, we often prefer to retain the number of residents in France born abroad. In 2020, they represent 12.7% of the population.
What can we say to these figures? In his work Let’s talk about immigration in 30 questions (La Documentation française, 110 pages, 5.90 euros), François Héran shows that this rate is much lower than in the Gulf countries, where it reaches 70% but, conversely, much higher than that of “Demographic giants” that are China, India or Brazil, where it does not reach 1%. “It is impossible to deduce an optimal proportion of immigrants, he writes. This concept is not scientific but political. “
However, we can underline that the share of immigrants in France is lower than the average of the OECD countries (13.6%), and of countries like Spain (13.3%), the Netherlands ( 13.5%), the United Kingdom (13.7%), Germany (16.2%), Belgium (17.3%) or even Canada (20.3%). Quantitatively, France is closer to Latvia or Italy. “There is an illusion of the importance of immigration, says Jean-Christophe Dumont, who heads the international migration division at the OECD. It has increased recently under the impetus of humanitarian crises, family and work immigration, but the numbers are the result of the flows of the past decades, and immigration was very reduced from the 1980s to the 2010s. “
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