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Paris population fall blamed on Airbnb

Airbnb has been blamed for a marked reduction in the population of Paris, which is the website’s most popular city with 60,000 listings in 2015, up from 4,000 in 2012.

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The number of people living in the French capital between 2009 and 2014 fell from 2,234,105 to 2,220,445, a total drop of 13,660 people, according to research published in French daily Le Parisien on Tuesday.

The drop particularly affected 14 of the city's central arrondissements (districts) with the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 8th arrondissements all seeing a fall in population of more than 1 percent.

Mayors of Paris’s affected arrondissements put the blame squarely on Airbnb.

“The drop in population can be attributed to the Airbnb phenomenon which has been a catastrophe for central Paris,” Jean-François Legaret, mayor of the 1st arrondissement, told Le Parisien.

According to Paris City Hall, two factors explain the figures.

The first is a drop in the overall birth rate in France (up until 2014, when it went up again), and secondly the “rise in the number of second homes in the city”, particularly the number of apartments that have become “seasonal tourist accommodation” through websites such as Airbnb.

At least 20,000 primary residences have been transformed into “seasonal tourist rentals” since 2009, City Hall estimates.

City Hall told Le Parisien it would be “increasing taxes on second homes” and continuing investment in social housing.

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