Census in France

What is census in France all about?

2019 Census in France

From 17 January to 24 February 2019. In Reunion Island, until 9th of March.

More information

The census takes place yearly in France to count homes and people. This census is organized by the French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques, INSEE).  Aim of the census is to determine the main characteristics of the population such as gender, age, activity, profession, characteristics of the households etc.

This information helps to identify the needs and organize the territories on national and local level. For example what social policy should be implemented or what infrastructures should be built (kinder gardens, schools, houses, transport…).

The census does not always concern every town and city in France, but just a part of the territory. To check out if your town is concerned you can visit the website “the census and me” (in French).

Watch out for fake census agents

Census agents are submitted to certain legal obligations:

  • The visit of the agent has to be announced (for example by an e-mail).
  • The agent must show his official card, signed by the mayor. He also has to submit specific individuals forms for each person living in the house.

A census agent comes to your home and gives you a questionnaire to fill in. On the questionnaire are provided a login and a password.

You can either fill the paper form or fill it online by using the login and the password you were given. If you fill in the paper form you can give it back to the agent. You need to fix an appointment with the agent for them to collect the questionnaire at your home. Or you although have the possibility to bring it yourself to the local office of INSEE.

During the census you’ll be asked sensible personal information such as your sex, age, profession, number of kids. All agents working for the census are subject to the obligation of professional secrecy. By filling the questionnaire you have to give your full name. This is in order not to count a person twice. After being collected your personal data are kept anonymous and the French statistical office is the only one to receive them. Your personal information cannot be forwarded to any other authorities (Article 6 of the law n° 51-711 of 7th June 1951).

The census is conducted according to procedures approved by the National Commission for Informatics and Liberties (CNIL). INSEE is the only body authorized to use the questionnaires, and this anonymously. The census can not give rise to any administrative or fiscal control.