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QUALITY OF LIFE

Survey shows that strong majority of the French are ‘happy’

Their international reputation inclines more towards the grumpy, but the latest national mood survey shows that most French people are 'happy' and a significant amount are even 'very happy'.

Survey shows that strong majority of the French are 'happy'
Pedestrians cross the Champs-Elysee avenue in front of the Arc De Triomphe monument in Paris. (Photo by AFP)

The study by the Elabe Institute showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were happy, and a third (32 percent) even said they were “very happy” – despite serious concerns about the rising cost of living and the climate crisis.

While these figures are down on the 2021 study, which showed 11 percent more French people responding that they were “happy” and seven percent more saying they were “very happy,” it is safe to say that the French population is still quite content.

However, the survey did show some differences when considering certain factors.

READ MORE: MAP: Where are the happiest areas of France?

Income level

81 percent of people who “make ends meet without financial restrictions” reported being happy, while only 54 percent who experience financial restrictions said they were happy.

The same was true within companies – executives and heads of organisations were much more likely to say they were happy (87 percent) than their subordinates.

Political preferences

When looking at how French people voted – 77 percent of the people who supported President Emmanuel Macron in the first round of the presidential election responded that “things are going well” when asked in the survey their personal situation.

This is higher than both people who voted further to the political Left and Right. As for those who supported Left-wing Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the first round, 63 percent said “things are going well.” This number was even lower for first-round supporters of Marine Le Pen – only 58 percent said “things are going well.”

Inflation and climate change

Almost all the people surveyed (91 percent) said they were concerned about a loss of household purchasing power due to inflation in the coming months.

And the French mood has dropped since October 2021, when the last survey was conducted. Overall, respondents feel less confident than they did last year (-4 percent), less “serenity” (-5 percent) and less satisfaction (-7 percent). 

People also feel generally more weary, nostalgic, sad, angry, and fearful than they did in 2021.

Many are particularly concerned about how global issues like the climate crisis and inflation could impact their daily lives. 89 percent reported being worried that their day-to-day life will deteriorate as a result of price increases, and 85 percent reported being afraid of the consequences of climate change (eg flooding, natural disasters, and drought).

A large number of French people (74 percent) also said that they worry about their health deteriorating due to pollution and environmental problems.

Other surveys echo these results, showing an increase in concern over climatic events in France, particularly since the summer of 2022, which was marked by three significant heatwaves, forest fires, and widespread drought.

READ MORE: France records 10,000 excess deaths in second hottest summer on record

A poll published in August by Odoxa showed that seven out of ten French people “fear being personally affected by a climatic hazard.”

Of those feeling climate-anxious, age played a role, with 81 percent of those under 25 responding that they are personally afraid, in comparison of 62 percent of those aged over 65. 

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LIVING IN FRANCE

Blackouts, driving and admin: 6 essential articles for life in France

The possibility of power cuts this winter remains the topic du jour in France, so we look at how likely it is, plans the government has put in place and how you can stay informed. Plus, if and when you need to change your driving licence, Christmas dining in the French-style, and some important admin for Brits in France.

Blackouts, driving and admin: 6 essential articles for life in France

Let’s begin with some good news – “We’re not in a disaster movie”, according to government spokesperson Olivier Véran. Good to know.

Véran was speaking as the French government asks local authorities to prepare emergency plans in what it insists is the unlikely event of power cuts this winter, we take a look at how likely this scenario really is.

‘We’re not in a disaster movie’ – How likely are blackouts in France this winter?

Local authorities must still work on an emergency plan, however, that lays out in detail how planned power outages would happen in France, and which services would be affected.

Schools, trains and hospitals: How France will handle possible electricity blackouts this winter

Linked to that, the French government has encouraged people to use ‘Ecowatt’ – accessible both as a website and mobile application to keep track of energy use this winter, in an attempt to stave off shortages and possible power cuts. Here’s how it works and how can you sign-up.

‘Ecowatt’: How to use France’s new energy forecasting website and app

At The Local, we’re often asked the driving licence question: do we need to change our licence for a French one?

If you’re living here you may eventually need to swap your licence – but how long you have to make the swap and exactly how you do it depends on where your licence was issued. Here’s the low-down.

Reader question: Do I have to swap my driving licence in France?

Christmas is coming – and that means feasts. But if you’re expecting figgy pudding and mince pies in France, you’re likely to be disappointed. That said, and in a bid to tempt you into something different, the home of gastronomy has some wonderful festive food traditions of its own. French food blogger Florence Richomme explains more.

The 12 dishes that make up a classic French Christmas feast

An administrative one to sign off with this week. British adults who were living in France before the end of 2020 should all now have residency cards, but for families the situation is slightly different – here’s how to secure legal residency status for your children.

Brexit: How Brits in France can secure residency rights for their children

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