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Statistical results of the general census of the population in 1931 (foreigners and naturalized people).


Statistical results


Geography Histories, Year 1937, volume 46, number 263, p. 514-516 Available on the website « PERSEE » htt






L’article présente les résultats statistiques du recensement général de la population en 1931, naturalisés et étrangers.
En 1931, la France compte 2715000 étrangers recensés, contre 2409000 en 1926.
Les naturalisés sont au nombre de 361000, contre 248000 en 1926.
Au total, la population étrangère ou d’origine étrangère constitue 7,6% de la population française.
Cinq nationalités forment près de la moitié des immigrés (dans l’ordre : italiens, polonais, espagnols, belges et suisses). La nouveauté est l’accroissement des populations slaves, balkaniques et levantines.
Les trois quart de la population immigrée se regroupe en région parisienne, et les régions frontalières (région méditerranéenne, région de l’est et région du nord).
Cette population apporte un double appoint à la France : démographique, et économique. Deux exemples : la population étrangère compte beaucoup plus d’hommes que de femmes, alors que l’inverse est enregistré dans la population française : pour 100 hommes, il y a 115 femmes chez les français, et 60 chez les immigrés. D’autre part, la population étrangère compte bien plus d’enfants que de vieillards, alors que le phénomène est contraire dans la population française.
Les étrangers fournissent des travailleurs manuels pour les gros travaux abandonnés par les français : le plus grand nombre travaille dans l’agriculture, puis viennent les mines (40% des travailleurs) et les carrières (25% des effectifs, la grande métallurgie, le commerce, le transport et la manutention…
La grande majorité d’entre eux sont ouvriers.
The article presents the statistical results of the general census of population in 1931, naturalized and foreign people.
In 1931, France has 2,715,000 registered foreigners to 2,409,000 in 1926.

The naturalized people are 361,000 to 248,000 in 1926.
In total, the foreign population of the one of foreign origin constitute 7.6% of the French population.
Five nationalities account for almost half of immigrants (in the order: Italian, Polish, Spanish, Belgian and Swiss). The novelty is the increase of Slavs, the Balkan and Levant.
Three-quarters of the immigrant population gather in the region of Paris and border regions (Mediterranean, Eastern Region and Northern Region).
This population provides a double boost to France: demographic and economic. Two examples: the foreign population has many more men than women, whereas the reverse is registered in the French population to 100 men, there are 115 women in France, and 60 among immigrants. Moreover, the foreign population has more children than old people, while the phenomenon is the reverse in the French population.
The supply of foreign laborers for hard labour that are abandoned by the French: the largest number are employed in agriculture, followed by mining (40% of workers) and career (25% of the workforce, the large metallurgical industry, trade , transport and handling ...
The vast majority of them are workers.


After the 1926 census, the one of 1931 was the second to take into account foreigners. This shows the growing importance of the migratory phenomenon in France.
The figures given clearly show the magnitude of immigration in France after the First World War and the transition of a mainly border immigration to a more remote immigration, including Slavic and Levantine.

The reunification of foreigners in some regions appear clearly. They are mainly employed as workers in areas that are neglected by the French. The economic contribution of this workforce is also clear, and the demographic contribution as well of young men in a country that has experienced heavy losses in the first world war. The laws of 1927 on nationality, whether for its acquisition or the nationality of the wife go far in this direction.


Frédéric Rousselle / Marika Kovacs





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