Population Changes in France – The Effects of Rising Life Expectancy and Immigration Essay

First of all, it seems necessary to mention that this study has been made upon students of the EABJM which is a private school in the top rankings of Paris’s best school results, therefore we can deduce, if not be certain, that this school is composed in majority of upper class people, because good results are partly influenced by good financial support of educational activities and paying for schooling would more often be decided by people that are more likely to be highly ranked in society as far as education could be free in an ordinary public school.

1) Life expectancy / retirement

On the other hand, the same questions have been asked to the class teacher which is actually a worker for the French state that has a monthly salary of about 2 700 �. These results could help us compare and analyse social class differences to indentify more easily some issues that could happen in the future in French society; even though the results obtained with the teacher would be more personal as on the other side we have a more general idea based on 27 students. By using the results of these studies, we will try to bring out solutions to some problems that could take place in future French society.

As technology and medical research is developing at an incredible speed, human healthcare is considerably ameliorating year after year, and therefore, nowadays, people are living much longer, and little by little, life expectancy is climbing up as a result of all the discoveries that are being made by doctors, scientists… If we take a look at the average retiring age expected by the students, we come up with 67 years old. With a life expectancy at least as high as 95 years predicted by geographers for 2060, (which is quite close to the average of the age the students expect to die), that leaves us with around 26 years without work for a retired person. That means the state will have to spend more and more money for retired people throughout time as there will be more of them, and, will have to get paid on a longer time basis. So, as a matter of fact, the increasing of life expectancy can be seen like an achievement but also like an issue. A logical choice that has been made by the French government recently was to increase the minimal age of retirement. But as life expectancy is awaited to keep growing for at least many years to come, the government will have to keep pushing up the age of retirement.

Actually, some workers such as truck drivers or builders and many others, can’t do their job anymore because of vision problems for example, or muscle problems due to age. Therefore they will have to quit their jobs and stay unemployed. Also, a large number of jobs would be occupied by “old people” and this would be susceptible of making the number of “young people” (or in other words the active population) unemployed increase, as the number of jobs for them would be restrained. Furthermore, the fact that a large number of aged people would be working could slow down economic activity as an old man would generate less enthusiasm and energy than a young man. Young age unemployment can cause, if not surely, a feeling of hatred from young population towards the government and encourage rebellion, leading to crime and violence. We therefore just explained and analysed how life expectancy and retirement age can influence French society to a point of it being an issue.

Trying to come up with a solution being my duty, in my opinion, the government should first of all come up with a law that would somehow privilege young employment. For example, if a young man just coming out from university makes a job application to the same company at the same time as an aged worker, he should be privileged. Of course all the age limits should be fixed and decided precisely by the concerned people. The state would therefore ameliorate, (from my point of view), its reputation, as they should be seen like welcoming new generations and valorising change. The fact that there will be more young people employed could also accelerate economy and make some place to innovations, to the government’s profit that could use this money to pay the retirements more easily. Also, I think rich people that are considered, (by specialists), having enough money for the rest of their lives should not be paid their retirement, which seems quite logical for me. Moreover, people from old generations will be paid by companies to transmit their experience to young employees so that they don’t feel somehow useless, which could cause psychological problems. I believe these laws could initially create better understanding between generations, and also between the government and the population, which could lead to a more prosperous and homogenous society in the future.

2) Immigration / integration

One of the main issue in French society today that is somehow so much preoccupying politics about the future is without a doubt immigration. Immigration, (especially coming from North Africa), is growing and expanding every year, in a more or less regular way. Most of these immigrants find themselves very quickly into unhealthy “makeshift homes”, where they become the main pray of diseases, even some of them once thought eradicated, which therefore leads to an overload of patients in some hospitals situated in particular regions. These problems are not new; the concentration of immigrants in specific urban areas has always existed, however it is only recently that it is politically perceived as a “threat” not only for the labour market but also in society, and is the subject of many political debates, creating polemics. The presence of these immigration groups that are formed create problems of integration. Lots of immigrants entering the state don’t talk French, and stay with their original community group. The government is preoccupied that these features will harm the traditional image of France known for its rich history and culture, but are also aware of other problems that exist today that could certainly become much more important then it is actually.

First of all, a considerably high percentage of these strangers find themselves working illegally, very often in inhumane conditions, which indirectly disrupts the labour market. Some of them that refuse these inacceptable working conditions that seem to be violating human dignity become relying on different types of assistance, which increases the deficit of the social system. Sometimes they survive in a very different way, leading to overloaded jails. Moreover, a migrant’s child wouldn’t have the same culture, ideas, centre of interest, goal in life or may be even level compared to a 100 % French student that has been educated with the same system from the beginning of his life. Hence, the general level of the school seems to be brought down by immigration, as other countries may don’t have the same method’s of teaching or quality of teaching compared to France.

Due to all the points explained just previously, migrants are feeling rejected and therefore we can notice they tend to become violent and uncivilised to show there anger, as they don’t have any other way of expressing themselves while they are being seen as “different”. Immigration does actually increase poverty, because in fact, living in France isn’t cheap at all, it being a developed country ranked in the top 5 of the world’s best economies. By looking at the stats, we can realize that “rent”, “social” and “taxes” seem to be taking the most important percentages of the monthly salaries whether it’s the teacher’s one or the average salary expected by the students. Therefore we can deduce that these three things are essential to live in France and be part of society. However, people that would earn less than 1200 Euros per month would rather focus there expenditures on food supply and rent, and would leave out social for example or even health. So by looking at these numbers we can observe that it is quite hard to be well integrated in society when you don’t earn enough money; so for migrants it makes it even harder. If the integration problem isn’t going to be solved, tensions and hatred will build up within the population leading to a chaotic society.

As mentioned before, this subject is part of numerous political and social debates and conversation, but it seems like no important reaction and solution has been brought yet. Instead of rejecting immigrants, would rather welcome them and create a law for them to be integrated. The best I could come up with was that for every unemployed immigrant, he would be given a job for the French state from the government. Instead of being paid he would be given a home and a health insurance. Hence, the unemployment rate will decrease, and immigrants would be more respectful and thankful to the government which would calm down criminality and violence.

In general, what brings out conflict in society is difference. Diverse ideas, diverse cultures, diverse political views, diverse sexual orientations, all of this can create conflict but its up to the government to take out profit of these features and thinking how all these differences can help the country instead of damaging society.