Economic inequality is one of the major issues that the city of Paris is facing. France is one of the world’s top countries in terms of GDP/GNP. However, in recent years the poverty rates in Paris have been increasing due to various factors including the skyrocketing cost of living. Last year one French charity found increasing inequality occurring across the metropolitan Paris region.
There’s no doubt that the City of Lights is one of the most attractive cities in France. However, the capital of France and the surrounding areas have risen greatly in economic inequalities. The region includes 12 million people and makes up nearly one-third of France’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, 15% of the residents earn less than $1,100 per month. Not only that but half of them earn less than about $840.
The figures were reported by the French charity Secours Catholique. The study examined the different levels of poverty/inequality throughout the country’s 8 departments and 1,200+ municipalities. The results of the study weren’t optimistic and especially in the poorest regions of the Greater Paris region. However, the poverty areas are even worse in areas north of the city center.
The charity’s president stated that the results are an “alarm call.” He questioned how long the current situation can continue. The charity pointed out that in 2002 the Seine-Saint-Denis median income was 72% of the average income in Paris. Then a decade later in 2012 the median income had actually decreased to 68% of the region’s median income.
The percentage of poor homes in the region increased twice as fast around metropolitan France between the years 2004 and 2012. It’s important to put the data from the study in perspective. Seine-Saint-Denis is where 22/50 of the Paris region’s poorest municipalities are located and includes 11,000 residents. However, the department just has 36/273 municipalities with 11,000+ people.
The charity’s president stated that it’s important to act on the areas with high poverty rates and unemployment. He stated that the situation will get worse in future years if the situation isn’t dealt with now. He stated that the municipalities have to work together and create a plan to improve the situation.
The situation is worse as Seine-Saint-Denis is also getting a large amount of emergency housing shelters versus other Paris regions. So while a short-term issue is solved in the long-term the shelters are adding more poverty to that department.
The study also pointed out that people living in the city’s richest department covers various inner city suburbs live an average 2 years longer than those in the poorest area. The study also discovered that people living in the 10% of household worth were an average of 5x better off than those living in the bottom 10%.
The study stated that a rebalancing of the territories is needed. The goal should be to promote social diversity. It stated that France cannot keep forming “islands” of poverty. It causes some groups of society to live outside the prosperity of one of the wealthiest countries in the world.