Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Jihadists attack U.N. base in Mali

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Assange #ArbitrarilyDetained

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Part 1: Julian Assange, Brexit

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Migrant crisis: Is Calais the dead end on the migrant trail?

Read more

FOCUS

Transgender children: Embracing the transition process

Read more

ENCORE!

Phil Collins remastered

Read more

PEOPLE & PROFIT

Taking a slice: The challenge of taxing multinationals

Read more

FASHION

Haute couture: Chains and Napoléon’s sisters on the Parisian runway

Read more

#THE 51%

Afghanistan’s first lady

Read more

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time. And you can watch it online as early as Friday.

REPORTERS

REPORTERS

Latest update : 2012-02-07

The faces of French poverty

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 poor" are students, single parents, casual workers and the elderly. Our reporter went to meet them.

With the rise in fixed expenses such as rent, public transport, electricity and healthcare, French people on small salaries are having difficulty making ends meet. Twelve to fifteen million of them, who live just above the poverty line of 954 euros per month, are struggling by the end of the month.

For various reasons -- including shame and embarrassment -- it was not easy to find people who would talk to me about their difficulties. Loriane, Régis, Juliette and Agnès were the four who did accept.

All of them have two things in common: they have to cover all of their expenses on their own, and do not own a home.

I was surprised by their feeling of guilt. They blame themselves much more than the government for their sometimes chaotic paths, for making the wrong decisions, or for not making the right choices at school.

But there is an unavoidable fact their stories illuminate: the minimum wage of around 1,100 euros a month is no longer enough to make ends meet. Like Juliette, 2.2 million workers have to combine several jobs in order to survive.

Elderly people find themselves in the same situation. The average state pension of France’s 15 million pensioners is only 1,200 euros.

In this context, it comes as little surprise that one prominent French charity -- the “Restos du cœur”, created by the late French comedian Coluche -- has seen a 25% 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.

By Valérie Labonne

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2016-02-05 Ivory Coast

Video: Welcome aboard the West African Express

A colonial-era dream may become a reality. Bankrolled by French industrialist Vincent Bolloré, the €2.5 billion- and 3,000-kilometre-long rail network is set to cover five...

Read more

2016-01-29 Venezuela

Is Chavism on its way out in Venezuela?

Just three years after the death of iconic Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, his successor Nicolas Maduro is floundering. Not only is the country mired in a crippling economic...

Read more

2016-01-22 Tajikistan

Tajikistan cracks down on beards and full veils

In Tajikistan, a former Soviet republic bordering Afghanistan, authorities have declared war on radical Islam and are trying to root out potential terrorists in the country.

Read more

2016-01-14 South Africa

Environmental inequality persists in South Africa

In South Africa, inequalities remain despite the end of apartheid, including on the environmental front. The poorest populations live in the most polluted areas and things are...

Read more

2016-01-08 Islamic State (IS) group

The secret lives of former French jihadists

FRANCE 24 brings you a special documentary one year after the January 2015 terror attacks in France. For nine months, investigative journalist Clarisse Feletin sought an answer...

Read more