February 2013        

Poverty and wealth in France

The crisis of the system is hitting workers even in the heartland of the European Union. Workers, pensioners and the sick are all paying a heavy price.
      According to a recent survey, almost a quarter of French people have little or nothing left to live on at the end of the month. These “nouveaux pauvres” are students, single parents, casual workers, and the elderly.
      With the rise in fixed expenses, such as rent, public transport, electricity, and health, French people on small salaries are having difficulty making ends meet. Between 12 and 15 million of them, who live just above the poverty line (€954 per month), are struggling by the end of the month.
• The minimum wage of approximately €1,100 a month is no longer enough to make ends meet.
• 2.2 million workers have to combine several jobs in order to survive.
• The average state pension of France’s 15 million pensioners is only €1,200.
• Unemployment reached 3 million for the first time in more than ten years.
      The “Restos du Cœur,” the charity created by the late French actor and comedian Coluche, has seen a 25 per cent increase in demand for food in the space of three years. For many French people the crisis is so severe that they are no longer ashamed to ask charities for help.

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