Wednesday, November 23, 2011

La vieillesse est un naufrage ...

Le Monde:
Une société qui a peur de sa jeunesse est une société bien mal-en-point. La France vieillit, et le corps électoral qui choisira dans cinq mois le président de la République portera la marque de ce vieillissement. Dans la France de 2011, selon le portrait social de l'Insee, les moins de 20 ans représentent 24,6 % de la population (contre 27,7 % en 1991), et les 65 ans ou plus, 16,8 %, soit 2,8 points de plus qu'il y a vingt ans.
La société française est portée par une double dynamique : celle de sa natalité, un atout par rapport à l'Allemagne, et celle de l'allongement de l'espérance de vie. Et pourtant, la fracture générationnelle resurgit. Le sondage réalisé par Ipsos Logica Business Consulting à l'occasion du colloque organisé par Le Monde à Bordeaux, jeudi 24 novembre, est à cet égard inquiétant.

Lucidement, 81 % des personnes interrogées jugent qu'il est "difficile d'être un jeune aujourd'hui en France" et 71 % considèrent que la situation s'est détériorée par rapport aux générations précédentes. Les enfants des soixante-huitards vivent moins bien que leurs parents. C'est particulièrement vrai en termes d'emploi - où un chômage supérieur à 20 % et une précarité en hausse frappent en priorité la jeunesse -, de logement et de pouvoir d'achat.


DavidinParis said...

How is this possible? I see large families everywhere! Compared to the rest of Europe, France is full of kids, even Paris considering large cities generally have families with less children.

Cincinna said...

It isn't clear what you mean by "large families". I'm not seeing large families in Paris except among non integrated, Muslim immigrant populations. I'm seeing it less, even in the traditional French families. With increasing life expectancy, a population that is living longer, and remaining productive longer, just to replace that number would require families of 3 or more children.
Here in the US, the situation is somewhat different. Traditional Americans have larger families. And there are a growing number in that group. In NYC most
of our friends have three or four children. In other parts of the country, where there are many Evangelicals, Evangelical/Pentecostel Hispanics, Mormons, and Orthodox Jewish families, families are larger.
Secular/progressives usually have far fewer children, but nationwide, they are in the minority.

Anonymous said...

The norm in France for a family is 1 or 2 kids. When you have 3 kids you're labelled "famille nombreuse" and you get discounts in the theater, for the train, etc.
The situation for young people is dire. All the kids I know - college graduates and often with a MS or MBA - look for jobs abroad because in France they're only offered menial jobs or unpaid internships. About half of those among the most educated (college/Master's degree) can't find a "real", full-time job within a year of graduating. The scariest stat in my opinion is that the average age for a college graduate to get a career-leading position is 27. Until then it's mcDonald's, cashier, hotel cleaning, school monitor, or unpaid internship after internship.*

Of course two other ways are a "grande école" degree and having parents with enough power that they can steer you into a position. When you see that a goal is to have 30% grande école graduates come from middle and working class, and that goal has been derided as unrealistic by people in said Grandes Ecoles (not all), you get a clear picture of the situation for middle class youth.

I know the situation in the US is bad, but what I've seen of it reminds me of the situation in France about 15 years ago. It's gotten much worse since.
The one positive point is that few college graduates have debt to repay since tuition is very low in public schools.

* okay: strictly speaking interns get a stipend amounting to about $300/month if they work full time for over 3 months at a qualified job. I still consider that "unpaid".


DavidinParis said...

@ Cincinna-OK, my numbers are a bit off and I failed to distinguish between the French and the not-really French (hmm)...but see:

@ Myos (annon), I agree opportunities for the youth are limited, but at 52, I feel surrounded by kids at work. My point being that if there is a lack of children in France, the rest of Europe must be imploding. Or...perhaps France can try to create more jobs and let people who want to work past 63 or 65 do so if they are qualified?
For your last comment, get this. I employ(ed) young people and decided to drop the stipend and give them a 'real salary'. I got 'summoned' by 2 labor unions telling me to stop this as I was, and I quote, "undermining the fabric of good social (istic?) stability in France". And to think I was just trying to give these young people a sense of a real job that they would be motivated to work hard at (which they did).