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FACTS ABOUT FRANCE, Part 1

 
 
           
 

IntroductionGeographyPeopleGovernment
EconomyCommunicationsTransportation
MilitaryTransnational Issues

 Introduction TOP of PAGE 
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 hybrid presidential-parliamentary governing system resistant to the instabilities experienced in earlier more purely parliamentary administrations. In recent years, its reconciliation and cooperation with Germany have proved central to the economic integration of Europe, including the introduction of a common exchange currency, the euro, in January 2002. At present, France is at the forefront of efforts to develop the EU's military capabilities to supplement progress toward an EU foreign policy.
 Geography TOP of PAGE 
Location: metropolitan France: 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
French Guiana: Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Brazil and Suriname
Guadeloupe: Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Puerto Rico
Martinique: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago
Réunion: Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar
Geographic coordinates: metropolitan France: 46 00 N, 2 00 E
French Guiana: 4 00 N, 53 00 W
Guadeloupe: 16 15 N, 61 35 W
Martinique: 14 40 N, 61 00 W
Réunion: 21 06 S, 55 36 E
Map references: metropolitan France: Europe
French Guiana: South America
Guadeloupe: Central America and the Caribbean
Martinique: Central America and the Caribbean
Réunion: World
Area: total: 643,427 sq km [248,429 sq mi]; 547,030 sq km [211,209 sq mi] (metropolitan France)
land: 640,053 sq km [247,126 sq mi]; 545,630 sq km [210,669 sq mi] (metropolitan France)
water: 3,374 sq km [1,303 sq mi]; 1,400 sq km [541 sq mi] (metropolitan France) note: the first numbers include the overseas regions of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Réunion
Area - comparative: slightly less than the size of Texas
Land boundaries: metropolitan France - total: 2,889 km [1,795 mi]
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
French Guiana - total: 1,183 km [735 mi]
border countries: Brazil 673 km, Suriname 510 km
Coastline: total: 4,668 km [2,901 mi]
metropolitan France: 3,427 km [2,129 mi]
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm (does not apply to the Mediterranean)
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate: metropolitan France: 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
French Guiana: tropical; hot, humid; little seasonal temperature variation
Guadeloupe and Martinique: subtropical tempered by trade winds; moderately high humidity; rainy season (June to October); vulnerable to devastating cyclones (hurricanes) every eight years on average
Réunion: tropical, but temperature moderates with elevation; cool and dry (May to November), hot and rainy (November to April)
Terrain: metropolitan France: mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in north and west; remainder is mountainous, especially Pyrénées in south, Alps in east
French Guiana: low-lying coastal plains rising to hills and small mountains
Guadeloupe: Basse-Terre is volcanic in origin with interior mountains; Grande-Terre is low limestone formation; most of the seven other islands are volcanic in origin
Martinique: mountainous with indented coastline; dormant volcano
Réunion: mostly rugged and mountainous; fertile lowlands along coast
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Rhône River delta -2 m (-6.6 ft)
highest point: Mont Blanc 4,807 m (15,771 ft)
Natural resources: metropolitan France: coal, iron ore, bauxite, zinc, uranium, antimony, arsenic, potash, feldspar, fluorspar, gypsum, timber, fish
French Guiana: gold deposits, petroleum, kaolin, niobium, tantalum, clay
Land use: arable land: 33.46%
permanent crops: 2.03%
other: 64.51%
note: French Guiana - arable land 0.13%, permanent crops 0.04%, other 99.83% (90% forest, 10% other); Guadeloupe - arable land 11.70%, permanent crops 2.92%, other 85.38%; Martinique - arable land 9.09%, permanent crops 10.0%, other 80.91%; Réunion - arable land 13.94%, permanent crops 1.59%, other 84.47% (2005)
Irrigated land: total: 26,190 sq km [10,112 sq mi];
metropolitan France: 26,000 sq km [10,039 sq mi] (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 189 cu km [45.34 cu mi] (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal: (domestic / industrial / agricultural)
total: 33.16 cu km [8 cu mi] per year (16%/74%/10%)
per capita: 548 cu m [144,766 gallons] per year (2000)
Natural hazards: metropolitan France: flooding; avalanches; midwinter windstorms; drought; forest fires in south near the Mediterranean
overseas departments: hurricanes (cyclones), flooding, volcanic activity (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Réunion)
Environment - current issues: some forest damage from acid rain; 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-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, 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: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: largest West European nation
 People TOP of PAGE 
Population: total: 64,057,792
note: 62,150,775 in metropolitan France (July 2009 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 18.6% (male 6,129,729/female 5,838,925)
15-64 years: 65% (male 20,963,124/female 20,929,280)
65 years and over: 16.4% (male 4,403,248/female 6,155,767) (2009 est.)
Median age: total: 39.4 years
male: 38 years
female: 40.9 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.549% (2009 est.)
Birth rate: 12.73 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 8.48 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: 1.48 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 77% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 0.8% annual rate of change (2005-2010)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 3.33 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.66 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 2.99 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 80.98 years
male: 77.79 years
female: 84.33 years (2009 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.98 children born/woman (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.4% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 140,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 1,600 (2007 est.)
Nationality: noun: Frenchman(men), Frenchwoman(women)
adjective: French
Ethnic groups: Celtic and Latin with Teutonic, Slavic, North African, Indochinese, Basque minorities
overseas departments: black, white, mulatto, East Indian, Chinese, Amerindian
Religions: Roman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, unaffiliated 4%
overseas departments: Roman Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, pagan
Languages: French 100%, rapidly declining regional dialects and languages (Provençal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish)
overseas departments: French, Creole patois
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy
(primary to tertiary education):
total: 16 years
male: 16 years
female: 17 years (2006)
Education expenditures: 5.7% of GDP (2005)

Go to Page 2 (Government, Economy)

IntroductionGeographyPeopleGovernment
EconomyCommunicationsTransportation
MilitaryTransnational Issues

 
 

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