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French population to top 70 million in 2050

media Schoolchildren in Vincennes, near Paris - France has a higher birth rate than many Western countries Reuters/Charles Platiau

France's population will be 72 million people by 2050, up from 63.9 million today, according to the official population monitor, Ined. By mid-century there will be nearly as many French as Germans as France's population rises and Germany's declines.

In 1950 there were 42 million people living in mainland France, Ined twice-yearly report points out. By 2004 the number had passed the 60 million bar and it is continuing to rise,

Interactive map of France

with a birth rate of two children per woman in 2013.

That is down from 1950's 2.93 children per woman but it has risen from 1990's 1.78 and remained the same since 2011.

The world birth rate is 2.5 per woman and the demographic institute predicts that the world population will hit 9.7 billion in 2050, compared to 7.1 billion today.

Life expectancy at birth is currently 85 for French women and 79 for French men, compared to 69 for women and 63 for men in 1950.

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As France's population continues to rise, Germany's is going down, which may see the French challenging the Germans for the position of western Europe's most populous nation.

Ined calculates that Germany's population will be 76 million in 2050, down from 80.6 million today.

Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman has predicted that this could lead to France overtaking Germany as the European Union's dominant economy, presuming that GDP per head remains roughly the same.

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