Which Countries Do French Immigrants Originate From?

The French artillery in Rabaat: Morocco was a French protectorate between 1912 and 1955, favoring immigration of Moroccans into France
The French artillery in Rabaat: Morocco was a French protectorate between 1912 and 1955, favoring immigration of Moroccans into France

France received immigrants from around the world in succession in 19th and 20th century. The immigrants were assimilated into the French culture and values. Since the 18th century, France has continued to value and advocate for immigration. In 2012 almost 230,000 immigrants came to France. The majority of the immigrants were Portuguese, British, Spanish, Italians, and Germans. Currently, 20% of the French population is immigrants with 5.3 million being foreign-born immigrants and 6.5 million being direct descendants of immigrants. 5.5 million Immigrants are of European origin, 4 million of Asian origin, 1 million are of African origin, and about 500,000 are of Turkish origin. Greater Paris has the highest number of immigrants with 40% of immigrants living in the city. Lyon and Marseille also have a large number of immigrants. Majority of French immigrants can be traced back to the following regions;


Algeria was a French colony from 1830 to 1962 when the country gained its independence. French had a significant influence in the country during the more than 100 years of colonization. Immigrants from Algeria account for a large proportion of the total immigrants in the France. 16% of the immigrants in the country can trace their roots to Algeria. Algerian immigration to France started in the 1960s and continued because of the political instability and social conditions in Algeria. Before the Second World War, Algerians migrating to France were exclusively males who were taken up as workers. However, after the war migrants were allowed into France without considering the gender. The living conditions especially the housing attract Algerians to France. Currently, more Algerian immigrants are securing employment in France especially in the dock of Marseille. Some of the Algerian immigrants who have contributed positively to the country include Zinedine Zidane, Azouz Begag, Rachid Arhab, and Karim Benzema among others.


Moroccans in France account for 11% of the total immigrant population. The immigration was largely influenced by French colonization of Morocco from 1912 to 1955 when the country attained its independence. According to 2011 census, there were 1.1 million people of Moroccan origin in France. Morocco migrants into France are mainly guest workers because of the better opportunities in the country. Most of the French immigrants of Moroccan origin are Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Some of the famous people with the Moroccan roots include Jamel Debbouze, Rachida Dati, Marouane Chamakh, and Najoua Belyzel among others.


Italians have been migrating into France in different cycles from the prehistoric age to the modern age. Currently, about 5 million French nationals translating to 10.4% are of Italian origin. French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte was of the Italian origin whose family was from Genoese ancestry. Italian migration to French began in the 18th century and increased further in the 19th century. Some of the notable Italian French people include Louis Auguste, Philippe Solari, Clement Castelli, Henri Bosco, Leo Ferre and Elise Bussaglia.


Migrants from Russia and other European Union countries like, Poland, Belgium, Romania, and Germany make up 13.2% of French immigrants. 10.4% of French immigrants can be traced back to Sub-Saharan Africa while Portugal, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey and southern Asia account for 28% of the immigrants in France.

Where Do French Immigrants Come From?

RankLeading Countries and Regions of Origin of French ImmigrantsShare of All First- and Second-Generation Immigrants in France
2EU Members Not Listed Below13.2%
5Sub-Saharan Africa 10.4%
10Southeast Asia2.7%

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