Why Paris is emptying of its inhabitants

“As I speak to you, I have the sun in my eyes, and the mountain in front of me. » You could almost hear him smile. Guillaume is one of those Parisians who left the capital during the health crisis, and who would not return for anything in the world. Left, with his wife and three children, for a week’s vacation last February in Annecy, they returned to put their suitcases there in June, to move in this time. “Today my environment is infinitely more peaceful”, says this entrepreneur, who lived in the 8and borough.

In recent years, the exodus of Parisians has been confirmed. The approximately 2,229,621 inhabitants of Paris in 2013 were around 64,000 less in 2019, before the health crisis. And if they didn’t wait for the pandemic to leave Paris, ” the Covid has been a trend accelerator, analyzes the sociologist Jean Viard, CNRS research director at the Sciences Po political research center. We are in the middle of a wave of change, people want to give meaning to their lives. »

With his wife, Guillaume was already thinking of leaving Paris. After passing by “a year and a half in front of a wall” and realized that their business could stay successful by working remotely, the couple decided to take the plunge. If we have to wait a few years to measure the real impact of the health crisis on the mobility of Parisians, it is already certain that it may have encouraged departures like theirs.

With an acceleration factor: telework. More than half of the executives who left the capital in 2018 did not change their place of activity, according to INSEE, which is still considering an increase in departures. “Among those who leave, there is a majority of people who move to the end of the RER line and who still work in Paris or who telecommute”, explains Jean Viard again.

Beyond the pandemic, the difficulty of finding housing and the search for a better quality of life are often what push families to leave the city, particularly when they get bigger. “It’s a rather family phenomenon” with the idea of “house with garden”, deciphers Jean Viard. In the capital, Guillaume and his wife paid €2,600 per month for a 90 m apartment.2. Today, the couple pay €600 less for 40m2 moreover, right in the city center of Annecy, with a terrace and… mountain views.

Consequence of these departures: Île-de-France with the exception of Paris (+ 4%), and especially the province (+ 8.8%), have seen the price of housing increase over the past year . In 2021, Parisian buyers are indeed increasingly favoring the provinces – 31% of transactions compared to 23% in 2019, according to the Notaries of France.

In Paris too, the marks of this family exodus have become visible in schoolyards. Like the population, the number of students enrolled in the first degree has been falling since 2013. But at the start of the 2021 school year, Parisian students were even fewer than usual. “In public kindergartens and elementary schools, there were 6,000 fewer students, which represents a drop of 5%”, reports Patrick Bloche, assistant for education at the Paris City Hall. A greater decrease than last year when around 4,000 pupils were missing compared to 2019.

“People had started to leave in 2020 but at the start of the last school year, it was the big surprise, that’s when we had the most departures”, explains the director of an establishment in the 10and borough. Same observation in the 9and district, by the director of a primary school which lost nearly 20% of its students between 2017 and 2020: “Paris has become too expensive for families: the current movement is people leaving. »


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