80% of births registered in 200 French cities


Only 500 of the 35,900 municipalities in France were listed as the birthplace of almost all babies born in France in 2016, according to official figures.

The 500 cities were the cradle of 99.6% of the 784,000 babies received worldwide, according to figures from the national statistics agency The national institute of statistics and economic studies (Insee) reveal.

In total, 80% of all births were registered in 200 cities. Paris leads with 42,000 births, followed by Toulouse (15,000), Marseille (14,000) and Lyon (10,000).

In total, 2,800 municipalities registered a birth in 2016 – of which 2,200 registered only one or two new arrivals. In total, 33,100 municipalities did not register any births.

Between 1975 and 2015, nearly two-thirds of maternity hospitals in France closed their doors. There are now 518 maternities across the country, compared to 1,369 maternities 42 years ago.

The centralization of maternity in France meant that, last year, only three babies out of 10 were born in the commune where their mother lives, while 90% were born in the same department.

Cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants recorded 50% of all births in France in 2016, against 44% in 1975, while only 9% of babies were born in municipalities with less than 10,000 inhabitants. This figure was 15% in 1975.

Only 5,000 babies (0.6% of the total number of births) were delivered outside recognized care facilities, such as maternity hospitals, but how many of them were planned home births was not recorded. Only 10% of these births took place without medical assistance.

In 2014, a a campaign has been launched to change French law so that a baby’s village or town of origin is listed on their birth certificate, rather than that of the maternity hospital in which they were born.

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