From time to time, France’s National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (Insee) offers a glimpse of the ethnic composition of French society. The study, “Being born in France to an immigrant parent” (Être né en France d’un parent immigré), published in February 2017, is one of them.
Like few other glimpses, the Insee study offers a partial view of the ethnic composition of the French population. A statistical breakdown — with the answer to the perennial question: how many Muslims in France? — would be perceived as discriminatory and outrageous. Given France’s “integration model,” nobody should dare identify people by their origins, religion, color of skin and so on. A Frenchman is a Frenchman, whatever the color of his skin or his religion, and any measurement of the sub-Saharan population — for example, their level of education, that of their children, the type of jobs their parents are doing, how many times they go to mosque or if they have spent time in prison — is illegal, discriminatory and racist. Sub-Saharan populations must disappear in aggregate data about French people.
The study, however, provides some telling information. In 2015, 7.3 million people born in France had at least one immigrant parent (11% of the population). Of these 7.3 million people, 45% are of European origin, most of whom are children of immigrants who arrived in France from Spain (8%) or Italy (12%) as early as the 1930s, or from Portugal in the 1970s onwards. One can assume, although it is not written in the study, that these people are of Christian origin.
Another group is composed of Africans. 42% of the 7.3 million children born in France to an immigrant parent are of African background, mainly North Africa. They came from Algeria (15%), Morocco (11%), Tunisia (5%) and sub-Saharan Africa (11%). Although it is also not specified in the study, it would seem that the great majority are Muslim.
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