According to the demographic survey of 2014, France has a population of 66,259,012. This figure also includes the five overseas regions. France, excluding the five overseas regions, has a population of 62, 814,233. Of the total population, 18.7% are aged between 0-14 years, 11.9% aged 15-24 years with the majority aged 24-54 accounting for 38.7%. The rest of the population is aged above 54 years. The population growth rate is estimated at 0.45% while the death rate is at 9.06 deaths per 1000 population. Paris is the most populated city in France with a population of 10.62 million people while Toulouse is the least populated with a population of 933,000. France is composed of 13 ethnic groups with French being the official language. Some of the common religious groups include Christianity, Islam, and others.
Major Religions In France
France is predominantly Christian, and it is considered a Christian nation. Christianity in France originated from Jerusalem in the first century BC during the persecution of Christians. During that period, Catholicism had taken root in France as the dominant religion. Christianity today account for between 63-66% of the total population with the Roman Catholic accounting for 83% of all Christians while 14% are Protestants and the rest are Jews, Lutherans, and Reformed Catholics. However, with the high number of Catholics and Protestants in France, only 5% of them either go to church or attend mass thus many consider France a secular nation. While Roman Catholics are spread across France, Protestants are confined mostly in the North Franche-Comte, Alsace and Cevennes hills.
According to the study on non-religious believers in France, about 24% of the population are atheists or do not belong to any religion. They do not believe in any deity while the majority of them do not oppose the existence of a deity. Most of the non-religious French are mostly youths declaring themselves as outright secular groups. The French society views them as immoral because they hold no moral values. In the early 19th century, such individuals would be punished by the society.
Islam is the second most practiced religion in France. It accounts for about 8% of the population majority being of North African origin especially from countries once colonized by France like Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. There are 30 Muslim schools in France most of which are privately owned compared to 8,727 non-Islam schools. Whereas wearing the niqab is allowed in most countries, France forbid the wearing of the hiding veils in public places as a measure for curbing insecurity since it hides one’s identity. The majority of the Muslims in France participate in Islamic religious practices just like in other countries. These practices include salat or prayers, fasting during Ramadan, and Pilgrimage to Mecca.
Apart from Islam and Christians, there are other minority religious groups. These include Judaism and reformed minorities. Religious scholars and observers hold the view that the future of French is Islam. While most of the population confesses Catholicism, only 2.9% practices it while the number of those practicing Islam is on the rise and currently stands at 3.8%. In fact, more mosques are being built compared to churches. However, the Muslims will have to deal with the issue of radicalization and the threats posed by terrorists who commit a crime in the name of Islam as recently witnessed in France during a football match between England and France.