The suburbs of France, in figures

The death of 17-year-old Nahel by the shooting of a policeman and the riots that followed throughout France once again set their sights on the French suburbs and especially the so-called “priority neighbourhoods”.

Here are ten keys about these disadvantaged neighborhoods.

5.2 million

In France, 5.2 million people live in deprived neighborhoodsthis is equivalent to 8% of the population, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics (Insee) for 2023.

In 2014, the State identified 1,514 poor localities as “Priority Neighborhoods for City Policy.”

These are mainly large block constructions located on the outskirts of large cities, old industrial areas or peripheral neighborhoods of medium and small towns.


In this type of neighborhoods in the metropolitan territory of France (the regions that are in Europe), 23.6% of residents were not born in the country, compared to 10.3% in other areasaccording to data from the Insee of 2021.

In Seine-Saint-Denis, a department located on the outskirts of Paris where many of these slums are located, the rate of people born outside of France is 30.9%, Insee estimated in 2020.


A young person perceived as an Arab or as a black person is 20 times more likely to be stopped by the policeaccording to a 2017 report from the Defender of Rights.


The average disposable income is 13,770 euros per year (15,030 dollars) per householdcompared to a level of 21,730 euros in the surrounding cities, according to 2020 statistics.


more than half of the children of these neighborhoods live in poverty, which reaches 56.9% of minors compared to a level of 21.2% in the rest of metropolitan France, according to Insee.

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The poverty rate is three times higher than in the rest of France and 43.3% of people living in these districts subsist below the poverty line, compared to 14.5% of the general population.


The unemployment rate in these neighborhoods is 18.6% compared to a level of 8% in France, according to official data for 2020.


In the 2017 presidential election, 48% of the adults residing in these neighborhoods abstained or were not registered on the electoral listsaccording to a 2020 study by the Montaigne Institute. In the rest of France this proportion is 29%.

12,000 million euros

Nearly 12,000 million euros (13,090 million dollars) were invested between 2004 and 2020 in these neighborhoods by the National Agency for Urban Renewal (ANRU).

In 600 neighborhoods, large towers of dilapidated buildings were demolished and replaced by houses with fewer floors and with another urban conception.

By 2030, the government plans to invest an additional 12 billion euros.

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