Race in France: A Sketch based on First- and Second-Generation Immigrants

Guillaume Durocher


France, notwithstanding its monarchist, Republican and Gaullist traditions favoring a centralized and sovereign Nation-State, is subject to the same globalist tendencies as other Western countries. There is the same trend towards borderlessness in all spheres, notably demographic, economic and political. The result is the constant undermining of the French nation.

These trends are interlinked and mutually reinforcing: European free movement rules outlaw systematic immigration checks at the country’s borders, economic elites demand low-wage immigrant labor to stop companies from bleeding out of the country through offshoring, and the European Union’s ideology of total disregard for ethnic and cultural realities — all peoples being equivalent and interchangeable — prevents any serious discussion of immigration and ethnicity.

No doubt the most serious trend, because it is irreversible barring a terrible civil war, has been demographic borderlessness and non-European migration. Discussion of ethnicity is barren in France compared to the United States. There is a virtual ban on ethnoic and religious statistics — notionally reflecting the official Republican ideology of absolute “colorblindness” since the French Revolution — meaning one is often left to speculate on the performance and status of different communities, or rely on potentially less-trustworthy non-official sources. There is little knowledge of research in human biodiversity and even a famous anglophile, relatively heterodox French demographer like Emmanuel Todd has only mentioned The Bell Curve to dismiss it as typical of the work produced by racist North Americans.

Notwithstanding this, many in France intuitively feel that the French population is becoming Balkanized through non-assimilable mass non-European immigration, resulting in a fracturing of the country along ethno-confessional lines. This process is probably more advanced in France than any other European country. As expected from a race realist perspective, the data show that, rather than interchangeable parts, non-White immigrants to France lag behind the native French in areas related to education and employment.

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What do we know about immigrants and their descendants?

Mass non-European immigration to France largely dates from after the Second World War, continuing despite decolonization in the 1960s and quasi-permanent economic stagnation since the 1970s oil shocks. Since the 1983 Euro-Socialist policies of François Mitterrand in particular, France has almost permanently had double digit unemployment around 9-12%. This mass immigration has been a mix of European (Portuguese, Spanish, Italian…), Arab and Berber (mostly Muslims from the Maghreb, but also Lebanon, Turkey), Black (West Indian Christians, Africans both Muslim and Christian) and Jewish (mostly from North Africa).

Even the number of non-Europeans in France is unknown. In the early 2000s, Whites were generally estimated at about 85% of the population. What the current proportion is can only be guessed at. In addition, there are an estimated 600,000 Jews, just under 1% of the population.

Some insights on ethnic differences can however be gleaned from a major study by the National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) looking at foreigners and their immediate descendants by nationality (i.e. we have data on first and second generation immigrants by national origin, but all data for the third generation is generally tabooed. And there are no data by race; recently there was a debate in the Socialist government to remove the reference to no discrimination according to “race” (leaving the others: sex, whatever), on the grounds that race doesn’t exist). Nevertheless, valuable insights in migration trends, fertility, educational and economic performance according to nationality and generation are available.

According to the study, France is unique in Europe in having almost as many immediate descendants of immigrants as immigrants (i.e. the current first generation only slightly bigger than the second). In 2008, there were 5.34 million immigrants (two-fifths being naturalized) and 4.48 million immediate descendants of immigrants. At the time, they made up over 15% of France’s total population of 64.4 million.

Immigrants in 2008 break down as follows:

1st Generation

2nd Generation (including mixed)

EU/other European

2,032,000

2,850,000

Maghreb

1,602,000

1,130,000

Other African

669,000

200,000

Turkey

239,000

80,000

Other Asia

518,000

170,000

Americas/Australasia

282,000

60,000

Total

5,342,000

4,480,000

Source: Insee, Immigrés et descendants d’immigrés, October 2012 p. 101, 105. pdf.

The African share of the immigrant population has consistently grown every decade since the 1970s. It is unclear why the second-generation Maghrebi population is so much smaller than the European one, given the fertility differences. Assuming this is not a statistical glitch, this could be because postwar Afro-Muslim immigration has already vanished into the third generation of statistics and because of the over-representation of men among Maghrebi immigrants.

Official immigration to France has generally been around 200,000 per year since the early 2000s, significantly lower than Germany, the United Kingdom and even Italy. This may be due to the Front National protest party’s effectiveness in channeling widespread popular opposition to immigration, bringing the ruling class to somewhat curb immigration out of electoral fear. There has been a shift in the motives for granting visas (p. 139), away from labor visas to family visas. In 2010 almost half of the 194,000 first-time visas were granted for family reasons, about a third for students, and a tenth for “humanitarian” reasons (mainly refugees). These obviously do not include illegal immigration or visa-free immigration (especially from other European countries, including much of the Balkans).

There are no statistics on Arab or Black fertility in France, however, the fertility of foreigners by nationality is recorded. In 2012, about 11% of births were to two parents born outside of the European Union, who can be assumed to be overwhelmingly non-white. This must be taken as vastly underestimating non-white births given that it doesn’t include the children of second generation immigrants and beyond. Only 72.7% of births were of two parents born in France. A large proportion of children were “mixed” but this is not a terribly useful statistic ethnically, because it would count the child of an ethnic Algerian Frenchman and of an Algerian as “mixed.”

The French are famously proud of their relatively high fertility rate – which hovers around 2.0. Indeed, the French Economic Observatory showed in a blog post that French fertility has been consistently higher than German fertility since 1950 and all but gloated that France’s population would overtake its neighboring rival’s around 2045. However, France’s high fertility is partly due to immigrant and non-White births. The White French fertility rate is probably around 1.7, about the same as U.S. white fertility, and still higher than Germany’s 1.4.

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The INSEE study does give the fertility rates of first generation immigrants in France by nationality.

Fertility of foreign women in France in 2008

Nationality

Fertility rate

Spain / Italy / Portugal

1.8

Other European

2.0

Algeria

3.5

Morocco / Tunisia

3.3

Other African

2.9

Turkey

2.9

Other Asian

1.9

Americas / Australasia

2.4

All immigrants

2.6

National average (including French)

1.9

Source: INSEE, Immigrés et descendants d’immigrés, October 2012, p. 133 (pdf)

As we can see, first generation Maghrebi immigrant women in France have almost twice as many children as the national average. Strikingly, these rates are also significantly higher than the fertility rates in the home countries! This suggests Maghrebi families feel more comfortable having children in France, with its developed economy and welfare system, than in economically stagnant and sometimes violent North Africa — as predicted by Prof. Virginia Abernethy’s Fertility Opportunity Hypothesis. Other Africans, mostly black, and Turks have a 52% higher fertility rate than the national average. Asians, a small and diverse community largely made up of Indochinese and Chinese, are in line with the national average. We do not know to what extent these groups’ fertility falls to the national average with the second and third generations.

Higher immigrant fertility and continued immigration of at least 200,000 per year, about half non-European, mean that the ethnic French majority has no doubt significantly shrunk since the early 2000s. In the neighboring United Kingdom, which has long been with France the leader in non-European immigration in the continent, the national census indicates that, despite substantial Eastern European immigration, the proportion of the White population fell over five points over a decade, from 91.3% in 2001 to 85.9% in 2011, while the White British population collapsed seven points over the same period from 87.5% to 80.5%. In France, where there was less Eastern European immigration, Whites today perhaps make up around 80% of the population.

The INSEE study also gives some insight into educational performance and national origin.

20-35 year-old 2nd generation immigrants without a junior high school diploma (brevet)

Origin

Lack of junior high school diploma

Born of native-born

11%

Born of immigrants

18%

Spanish/Italian

13%

Portugal

15%

Other EU

12%

Algeria

24%

Morocco/Tunisia

20%

Sahel Africa

22%

Central/West Africa

19%

Turkey

32%

Southeast Asia

13%

Other countries

11%

National average

12%

Source: INSEE, Immigrés et descendants d’immigrés, October 2012, p. 47 (pdf).

In short, the children of Afro-Muslim immigrants are two to three times more likely to not have a basic high school diploma than the children of native-born. In general, slightly more men (14%) than women (11%) do not have a brevet, probably reflecting a higher proportion of men being too rebellious in the face of educational control. The most severe gender split is between Moroccan/Tunisian men (26%) and women (14%), with no comparable split for Turks or Algerians.

There is a similar picture for attainment of the senior high school diploma (baccalaureate) — significant because it automatically gives the right to any holder to go to a university (albeit not necessarily a good one).

20-35 year-old 2nd generation immigrants with a senior high school diploma (baccalaureate)

Origin

With senior high school diploma

Born of native-born

68%

Born of immigrants

61%

Spanish/Italian

64%

Portugal

56%

Other EU

80%

Algeria

53%

Morocco/Tunisia

60%

Sahel Africa

57%

Central/West Africa

62%

Turkey

39%

Southeast Asia

70%

Other countries

77%

National average

67%

Source: INSEE, Immigrés et descendants d’immigrés, October 2012, p. 54. Link.

The performance of the Algerian and Turkish communities is then particularly bad. The relatively good average of other Afro-Muslims masks a catastrophic male/female split: only about half of Moroccan, Tunisian and Sub-Saharan African men have a baccalaureate. Put another way, all of the Afro-Muslim male groups do similarly poorly.

The study finds similar disparities in employment. In 2010, non-EU immigrants had an unemployment rate of 22%, over twice the national average. There are massive disparities for second-generation immigrants according to national origin.

Unemployment of 15-64 year-old 2nd generation immigrants in 2010

Origin

Unemployment rate

EU (non-French)

9%

Spain

9%

Italy

8%

Portugal

11%

Other EU

9%

Non-EU

24%

Non-EU Europe

12%

Algeria

25%

Morocco

28%

Tunisia

26%

Other Africa

26%

Turkey

24%

Indochina

16%

Other countries

13%

Born of native-born

8%

Source: INSEE, Immigrés et descendants d’immigrés, October 2012, p. 187. Link.

Second generation Afro-Muslims are then three times more likely to be unemployed than children of native-born.  The unemployment rate of 15-24 year-old second generation immigrants from outside the EU is 40%, while the figure for those from the EU is 23%, and for children of native-born 21%. Immigrant groups also often have significantly more unemployed men than women (“other Africa”: 32% for men, 19% for women, non-EU 15-24-year-olds: 44% for men, 34% for women). Among EU migrants and children of native-born, the figures are either even or women are slightly more likely to be unemployed.

The divergences are particularly stark for school-leavers. In 2009, children of African immigrants who had left school five years earlier had an unemployment rate of 28%, over twice the national average. In contrast, children of Southern Europeans had practically the same unemployment rate as natives. The situation has worsened over time: in 2001, children of African immigrants had an unemployment rate of about 19% unemployment three years after leaving school, in 2007, the figure for those who had left school three years earlier was 24%.

Men in general were more likely to be working or looking for work than women, and the split seems somewhat bigger for Maghrebi immigrants and their descendants, although it is not particularly marked (p. 183). Second generation Afro-Muslims are two to three times as likely to be unskilled blue-collar workers and are about 30% less likely to be white-collar workers or managers. The proportion of shopkeepers and small businessmen is highly variable, but broadly in line with the national average. Non-EU immigrants and their descendants are much more likely to be underemployed and/or work part-time, and to have insecure contracts.

Unsurprisingly, there is a similar ethnic divergence in household income.

Household income for various groups in 2009

1st generation household

Average household income, euros

1st gen. immigrant average

15,360

Europe

19,240

Maghreb

13,330

Other Africa

13,070

Other country

15,080

2nd generation household

 

2nd gen. immigrant average

19,170

Europe

20,590

Outside Europe

17,600

Mixed foreign/French

21,660

National average

22,140

Source: INSEE, Immigrés et descendants d’immigrés, October 2012, p. 215. Link.

Annoyingly, income for second generation immigrants is not broken down by sub-region, however, it seems very plausible that there is only limited progress by Afro-Muslim immigrants in reaching the national average, whereas European immigrants come within 10% of this benchmark.

Poverty affects 37% of first-generation immigrants and 20% of second-generation immigrants, against national average of 13.5%. Twenty-four percent of second-generation African immigrants live in so-called “sensitive urban zones” (ZUS), four times the proportion of second-generation European immigrants and six times the proportion of children of native-born, suggesting this urban development concept established in the 1990s and 2000s is indeed a racial euphemism (p. 223). Second generation Maghrebis are 3-4 times as likely to ask for social housing (HLM) as Europeans (p. 229).

The INSEE study provides no data on crime. A recent study on repeat offenders in Paris found that one-third were foreigners. Of these, half were from the Balkans and Romania (presumably including a large number of Roma),  7.1% were Maghrebi and 4.2% were other Africans.

Conclusion

Notwithstanding the very little data on intermarriage, educational or economic performance, criminality, etc., by ethnicity in France, there is every reason to believe that Arabs and blacks have similarly high levels of ethnic segregation, low intermarriage, low living standards, low educational and economic performance, and comparatively high criminality that one sees with similar underclass minorities in the U.S., the UK or Germany.

These groups are officially largely powerless. French politico-media and economic elites are overwhelmingly composed of Europeans and Jews (similarly massively over-represented relative to their proportion of the population as in other countries). A sprinkling of largely impotent Afro-Muslim tokens, often female, has been appointed to highly visible parts of the politico-media system.

The lack of data however makes it hard to distinguish fact from fantasy on the state of ethnic groups in the general population, but there is little evidence of France as an outlier. European immigrants significantly close the gap with the national average over time, while Afro-Muslims do not, at least not by the second generation. The “natural performance” of Maghrebis in Western societies is probably between that of blacks and Latinos, however their performance in France appears to be depressed by their sheer number (typically from unskilled or even illiterate backgrounds), making them comparable to blacks. (Conversely, African and Arab immigrants to America do fairly well for the opposite reasons.)

Assuming the Afro-Muslim population continues to grow and the gap does not close, France’s overall performance and well-being will suffer as a result. A non-European majority appears unthinkable, but if non-Europeans make up perhaps 20% of the population today and if neighboring Britain is forecast to lose its European majority by 2066, France will likely lose its majority around the same time, with incalculable consequences.

Notwithstanding the current official total disregard of ethnicity in France, many things could change before this happens. Nationalists embodied by Marine Le Pen’s Front National could well come to power. Jewish elites in France, spearheaded by Islamophobic intellectuals like Alain Finkielkraut and Élisabeth Lévy, have begun to praise French nationalism and turn against Muslims, immigration and multiculturalism, in no small part because they seem to have realized the latter could be bad for their community. Finkielkraut, who was recently appointed to the prestigious Académie française, told an Israeli newspaper in 2007: “Jews in France only have a future if France remains a nation; there is no future possible for Jews in a multicultural society, because the power of anti-Jewish groups could become greater.”

More generally, the Gaullist tradition of conservative nationalism is being looked upon ever-more-fondly in retrospect as the economic, social and political costs of the slow dissolution of the French Nation-State become more apparent. The diarist Alain Peyrefitte reports that President Charles de Gaulle said the following on March 1959, which must have formed a major part of his reasoning for abandoning French Algeria despite its 1 million European settlers:

It is very good that there be yellow Frenchmen, black Frenchmen, brown Frenchmen. They show that France is open to all races and that she has a universal vocation. But on the condition that they remain a small minority. Otherwise, France would no longer be France.

We are of course above all a European people, of white race, of Greek and Latin culture, and of Christian religion. Let us not invent fanciful stories! The Muslims, have you gone to seem them? Have you looked at them with their turbans and their djellabas? You obviously see that they are not Frenchmen.

Those who advocate integration have the brain of a hummingbird, even if they are very scholarly. Try to integrate oil and vinegar. Shake the bottle. After a while, they will separate again. The Arabs are Arabs, the French are French. You think that the French body can absorb 10 million Muslims, who tomorrow will be 20 million and after-tomorrow 40 million? If we go for integration, if all the Arabs and all the Berbers of Algeria were considered as Frenchmen, how would you stop them from coming to live in the home country, given that the standard of living is so much higher? My village would no longer be called Colombey-les-Deux-Églises [Colombey-the-Two-Churches], but Colombey-the-Two-Mosques.

Notwithstanding the impact of Catholic Christianity, the French Revolution and cultural Marxism, ethnic realism is by no means alien to the French tradition.

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