Number of poor people reaches 7.9 mln in France in 2006

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The number of poor people in metropolitan France in 2006 was estimated at 7.9 million, which is equal to about 13.2% of the total population, France's National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) has reported.

According to a report published Friday by the state-run premier statistics body, the rate of poverty in the country has stabilized at almost the same level since 2002 after falling consistently over the previous years.

“Poor people accounted for 13.2% of the population in 2006,” said the report, which noted that the standard of living for this category of people was “less than €880 (about $1,364) per month,” in a country where the median income is €1,470 per month.

By comparison, the minimum insertion income ceiling for a single person was €433 per month as of Jan. 1, 2006. In total, the number of poor people living below the poverty line in France in 2006 was 7.9 million, according to the report.

According to INSEE, it is estimated that up to 30 of single parent families, mainly consisting of a mother and her children, live in poverty across France, with cities with more than 20,000 inhabitants outside the larger Paris zone, being the worst hit.

“These figures,” according to the report, “confirm a trend that has been prevalent since 2002 with regard to stabilization of inequality and poverty in France after a period where a steady decline was recorded,” according to the INSEE.

In 2006, the disposable income of 10% of the poorest of the metropolitan population consisted of “42% of social transfers,” mainly family allowances and housing, according to the report.

The median standard of living, however, was up 1.7% in 2006 compared to 2005, said the report, which revealed that the average standard of living stood at €20,600 per capita per year.

Households that are less affected by poverty are those owned by couples who have no children, said the report, noting that “of these, only 6.4% are poor.” In terms of age, young people under 25 have a standard of living that is generally lower than the rest of the population, €18,270 against €21,620.

“If they live alone, these young form of low-income households because of difficulties of integration into the labor market or lower wages at the beginning of their careers,” according to the report.

Furthermore, the report reveals that the average standard of living for retirees was €21,540 per year in 2006, which is close to that of working people, with pensioners having lower wages being compensated by income from property. (Xinhua)

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