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the numbers that explain the riots

by drbyos

Clare BYRNE and Raphaëlle PICARD

The death of 17-year-old Nahel by the shooting of a policeman and the riots that followed throughout France once again set their sights on the French suburbs and especially on the so-called “priority neighbourhoods”.

Here are ten keys about these disadvantaged neighborhoods.

5.2 million –

In France, 5.2 million people live in disadvantaged neighborhoods, this is equivalent to 8% of the population, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics (Insee) for 2023.

In 2014, the State identified 1,514 poor localities as “Priority Neighborhoods for City Policy”.

These are mainly large block constructions located on the outskirts of large cities, old industrial areas or peripheral neighborhoods of medium and small towns.

23,6% –

In this type of neighborhood in the metropolitan territory of France (the regions that are in Europe), 23.6% of the residents were not born in the country, compared to 10.3% in other areas, according to data from the Insee de 2021.

In Seine-Saint-Denis, a department located on the outskirts of Paris where many of these slums are located, the rate of people born outside of France is 30.9%, Insee estimated in 2020.

20 –

A young person perceived as Arab or Black is 20 times more likely to be stopped by the police, according to a 2017 report by the Ombudsman.

13.770 euros –

Median disposable income is 13,770 euros per year ($15,030) per household versus a level of 21,730 euros in surrounding cities, according to 2020 statistics.

56,9 % –

More than half of the children in these neighborhoods live in poverty, which reaches 56.9% of minors compared to a level of 21.2% in the rest of metropolitan France, according to Insee.

The poverty rate is three times higher than in the rest of France and 43.3% of people living in these districts subsist below the poverty line, compared to 14.5% of the general population.

18,6% –

The unemployment rate in these neighborhoods is 18.6% compared to a level of 8% in France, according to official data for 2020.


In the 2017 presidential election, 48% of adults residing in these neighborhoods abstained or were not registered on the electoral lists, according to a 2020 study by the Montaigne Institute. In the rest of France this proportion is 29%.

12,000 million euros

About 12,000 million euros (13,090 million dollars) were invested between 2004 and 2020 in these neighborhoods by the National Agency for Urban Renewal (ANRU).

In 600 neighborhoods, large towers of dilapidated buildings were demolished and replaced by houses with fewer floors and with another urban conception.

By 2030, the government plans to invest an additional 12 billion euros.

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