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How many British citizens live in France?

PUBLISHED: 12:02 06 October 2017

How many British citizens live in France © roberthyrons / Thinkstockphotos

How many British citizens live in France © roberthyrons / Thinkstockphotos


How many British citizens live in France, where do they live and what do they do? The latest report from the ONS reveals all

The UK Office of National Statistics has been looking at patterns of migration between the UK and EU as part of efforts to better understand the implications of Brexit.

Comparing British citizens living in France and French citizens living in the UK - source ONS Comparing British citizens living in France and French citizens living in the UK - source ONS

How many Brits live in France?

The French Labour Force Survey estimates that on 1 January 2016 there were 148,800 British citizens living in France while the latest French INSEE census estimated there to be 151,800 British citizens living in France in 2014. According to the 2014 census 43% were between the ages of 15 and 54 while 46% (almost 70,000 people) were 55 or over.

There are similar numbers of French citizens estimated to be living in the UK. Data from the Annual Population Survey from 2013-2015 estimates that there are 154,800 French citizens living in the UK, however the majority of these (79%) were estimated to be 15-64 years.


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Employment status of British citizens living in France by age groups, 2011 - source ONS Employment status of British citizens living in France by age groups, 2011 - source ONS

So are there a lot of British retirees in France then?

According to the census data almost half of the UK citizens living in France are aged 55 or over and data from the Department of Work and Pensions reveals that around 67,000 people in France are drawing a UK pension (although a small percentage of these will be citizens of other countries who have worked in the UK and retired to France).

According to the latest available data, from 2011, a whopping 43% of the British expats of working age (aged 15 to 64), said they were ‘economically inactive’ – meaning they were neither working nor seeking work. This group, of course, includes students and stay-at-home parents as well as older people below retirement age who no longer need to work.

This contrasts starkly with the French citizens living in the UK – of those aged 15 to 64, 78% were employed and only 8% were ‘economically inactive’.


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British citizens living in France by region 2014 - source ONS British citizens living in France by region 2014 - source ONS

Where in France do British citizens live?

Young British workers are most likely to settle in the Paris area with 20% of those aged 25-54 years living in the Île-de-France region. However, the area loved most overall by British expats is the south-west, with 26% settled in Nouvelle-Aquitaine and 13% in Occitanie. Île-de-France (around Paris) and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes are the regions next favoured by British immigrants, followed by the north-west, with the north-east being largely ignored.

Is France also popular with British tourists?

France is the second most popular county with British citizens travelling in the EU, only Spain was more popular. There were 6.9 million visits made to France in 2016, of which 4.9 million were for holidays (the rest were mostly for business trips or to visit friends/relatives).

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