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Single people more likely to be unemployed, French study finds

media Job-seekers in Nice, southern France. Would marriage improve their chances … Reuters/Eric Gaillard

If you want a job, get married. That seems to be the conclusion of a report just out in France which shows that unemployment is significantly higher among single people than among those living as a couple.

The findings of an annual report by the national statistics institute, Insee, have sparked surprised comments in the French press, although researchers deny the findings are an argument in favour of marriage.

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Many factors explain the statistics, the institute’s Social Statistics Director, Fabrice Langlart, told RFI.

“We can imagine that living in a couple and having children gives you more incentive to find a job,” he says.

But other social factors, such as age and education, also affect the result, he points out. “Men living in a couple also on average have higher diplomas as compared to men that live without a partner.”

Women are more likely to be out of work as a result of parental choice, the study finds, but those who have a partner and are on the jobs market are less likely to be unemployed as well.

Insee’s annual demographic 2011 report found that:

  • 95 per cent of 30-54 year-old men living in a couple had a job, compared to 77 per cent of single men;
  • 94 per cent of 30-54 year-old women living in a couple had a job, compared to 78 per cent of single women;
  • 70 per cent of 30-59 year-olds lived as couples in 2009, eight points lower than in 1990.

Inequality of life expectancy remains virtually unchanged, the study found.

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Male executives on average live six years longer than manual workers, compared to six years 25 years ago.

The figures for women were three years and just over three years and one month respectively.

Inequality in property distribution is on the rise, largely thanks to the rise in house prices.

The wealthiest 10 per cent had property and savings worth 35 times as much as the bottom 50 per cent in 2009.

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