At the census of March 1982 the residents were 54,334,871, with an increase of 1,679,069 compared to the previous census (February 1975): the annual increase was on average 240,000 units, equal to 4.5 ‰. The rate of increase in the following years decreased only slightly, given that at the 1990 census the residents were 56,615,155, with an increase of 2,280,284 in 8 years, about 285,000 per year, corresponding to 4%. The density reached 104 residents / km 2, a value now close to the European average. It should be emphasized that the recent demographic dynamics are, in the European context, rather favorable. In fact, if in the first decades following the World War the population increase had been largely supported by French returning from former colonies or by foreign immigrants, currently most of the official increase is due to the prevalence of the birth rate (close to 14 ‰) on mortality (9.4 ‰). However, it is necessary to speak of an official increase, given that there is a flow of clandestine immigration of which the precise entity escapes. The main occupation of unqualified immigrants is construction, 40% of which are foreigners. In 1990 it was estimated a foreign presence of 3,700,000 units; the once prevalent Italians are about 333. 000, clearly surpassed by Portuguese (765,000), Algerians (796,000), Moroccans (431,000); there are also numerous Spaniards (321,000), Tunisians (190,000), Turks (124,000), etc. In the seventies, following the international economic crisis, attempts were made to reduce foreign inflows: the rise in birth rates is in any case linked to immigration. To complete the picture of demographic dynamics, it should be noted that infant mortality, given the significant level of assistance achieved, is 7%, ie lower than the overall one.
According to Trackaah, demographic dynamics and distribution of the population in the national territory give a picture that is both an effect and a cause of the economic situation. The prevalence of Ile-de-France, the Parisian region, is very clear, where almost a fifth of the residents are concentrated on one fiftieth of the territory (about 887 residents / km 2); it should be noted that the urban agglomeration of the capital, close to 9 million residents, is now the largest in Europe (this must be considered an indication of imbalance, not a title of merit: 16% of the French population is concentrated in the capital). They are followed by the Nord-Pasde-Calais region, of similar size and with 319 residents / km 2, and Alsace, with 196; in the north, the urban community of Lille exceeds one million residents. The other relevant densities are located between Paris and the two seas, on larger expanses but with lower densities. In that towards the Atlantic (the English Channel), along the Seine, the density is high especially in the coastal area (department of the Seine-Maritime). In the one towards the Mediterranean, the density is rather low in Burgundy, and then rises in the Rhone valley, where the second French urban agglomeration, Lyon, which hosts over 1,200,000 residents, develops. The densities remain high along the whole valley, and near the mouth is Marseille, the third largest French city (1,100,000 residents), Where the large port complex of Fos has developed: alongside steel and petrochemicals the installation has clearly consolidated Marseille as the first port in the Mediterranean. Overall, the Alpes-Rhône and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur regions have the same population as the Parisian agglomeration, covering an area 30 times greater. The most populous area therefore extends between the mouths of the Seine and the Rhone: it has an arch shape, and is sometimes called the fertile crescent. The other regions all present demographic and economic difficulties, with the sole exception of Alsace, along the Rhine. The main problem of the state, which governments have been trying to solve for decades, is that of a Parisian area that continues, even if only for inertia, to play a driving role, accentuating the detachment from the more peripheral regions. Some positive results have been seen since the end of the 1970s: the increase in Parisian area, after many centuries, was not the most consistent in the country, but it was even lower than the national average. The fastest increases are recorded on the Mediterranean coast, in the Rhone valley, in Alsace, in parts of Brittany and in Aquitaine, where Bordeaux exceeds 650,000 residents. In conclusion, two aspects to be considered positive are reported: in the mountainous regions as a whole, the population in the last quarter of a century has increased slightly (this means that the natural increase is no longer totally nullified by the migratory movement); in the registry movement alone (even if clandestine immigration escapes the data) the Ile-de-France has registered a negative balance for some years: not only the capital is no longer the destination of all emigrants.