Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Somalia: car bomb outside presidential palace kills at least 10

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Socialists complain of Macron's 'betrayal' of Hollande

Read more

THE DEBATE

France Ambassadors Conference: Hollande outlines foreign policy priorities (part 1)

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Meeting US inmates as Obama pushes for criminal justice reform

Read more

REPORTERS

From the archives: Caught in the crossfire in Colombia

Read more

ENCORE!

Video: Harlan Coben on suspense, suburbia and success

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Democratic Republic of Congo: Inside Camp Garlic, a stronghold of ADF militia

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Rousseff defends her track record

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

2012-06-14 Colombia

From the archives: Caught in the crossfire in Colombia

On April 28 a team of Colombian commandos set out to destroy a secret drugs lab in the jungle. FRANCE 24 reporter Romeo Langlois joined them to record the mission. The patrol was...

Read more

2016-08-26 DR Congo

Getting away with murder in DR Congo

For more than a year and a half, a series of massacres - which have never been claimed - have been committed in the Beni region in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo....

Read more

2016-08-04 Afghanistan

Afghanistan's Kunduz, a city under Taliban threat

The northern Afghan city of Kunduz is being slowly rebuilt after it briefly fell to the Taliban last year, and a hospital was destroyed by US air strikes supporting Afghan ground...

Read more

2016-07-29 2016 Olympics

Video: Olympic refugee team goes for gold

Of all the athletes competing at the Olympics in Rio, there are ten in particular who stand out. They are all refugees who have fled war, terror and violence. Fleeing DR Congo,...

Read more

2016-07-08 history

Video: The trial of Chad's ex-dictator Habré, an inconvenient ally

In May, former Chadian president Hissène Habré, who ruled his country with an iron fist between 1982 and 1990, was sentenced to life in prison for "crimes against humanity,...

Read more