Ville de Paris Population History: Analysis and Data

This page is a part of the Demographia
Paris Population Analysis and Data Product
Dated 24 March 2001 as Revised.
Permission is granted to use with attribution.

Paris Population History from 1600 (20030719)

Paris Population History by Geographic Sector from 1861: Charts (010325)
1999 Census: Paris Population Losses Moderated, Inner Area Still Loses Most (010325)
Paris Population History by Geographic Sector to 1856: Charts (010325)
Paris Sections: Population & Density Trends (010324)

Paris Urban & Suburban Population from 1921 (010330)
Paris Arrondissements: Population & Density Trends (010324)
Paris Arrondissements: Population & Population Density Post 1860 (010324)
Paris Arrondissements: Population & Population Density Pre-1860 Definitions (010324)
Paris Arrondissements: Population 1990 & 1999 (000815)


City Population Losses are the Rule: Nearly all major cities (municipalities or local area authories) in the developed world that have not expanded their boundaries and achieved full development within their boundaries have population totals below their peak. Within this category, only Vancouver and Miami have increased their populations. It is notable that these cities have attracted large numbers of immigrants --- Vancouver from China and Miami from the Caribbean. (New York has recently reached its peak population, but the four boroughs that were fully developed in 1950 have a total population below the 1950 figure).

The Ville de Paris Population has Declined 27 Percent from 1921: The Ville de Paris is among the overwhelming majority of core cities that have lost population. The municipality itself reached its peak population in 1921 at 2,906,000. By 1954, the population had declined 1.9 percent. The rate then quickened through 1982, when the population fell to 24.7 percent below the 1921 peak. Since 1982, the losses have continued, but at a much lower rate. The 1999 census counted 2,125,000 residents, down 26.9 percent from 1921 and down 1.1 percent from the previous census (1990). The population density peaked at 86,670 persons per square mile (33,437 per square mile) in 1921 and fell to 63,374 per square mile (24,450 per square kilometer) in 1999. These figures exclude Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes. Eighteen of the 20 arrondissements had lost population in 1999 from an earlier peak.

Some Paris Areas were Declining by 1830: But central area population losses started much earlier. Before the present boundaries of Paris were established in 1860, the former inner 4th and 9th Arrondissements lost population starting in the 1817-1831 census period. The 7th Arrondissement had a population density of 233,035 per square mile in 1856, down from 258,820 in 1846 (89,905 and 99,853 per square kilometer respectively). The 1846 figure was the highest density ever recorded in a Paris arrondissement. Inside the former boundaries of the municipality, the population density reached 88,539 per square mile in 1856 (35,684 per square kilometer). The former three inner arrondissements (4e, 7e and 9e) reached their population peak in 1836.

The Inner Area Reached its Peak in 1861: Each of the present four inner arrondissements (1e through 4e) was at their peak population at the first census after the city expanded, in 1861. The 3rd Arrondissement was the most dense, at 219,393 per square mile (82,642 per square kilometer). This is the highest density figure achieved by any arrondissement within the present municipality boundaries. By 1999, the population of the four inner arrondissements had fallen 73.2 percent, with the 1st Arrondissement experiencing the greatest loss, at minus 81.1 percent. The four inner arrondissements include such landmarks as Notre Dame, Hotel De Ville, Palais du Louvre and the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers (CNAM).

The Left Bank has been Declining since the Early 20th Century: The three Left Bank arrondissements (5e through 7e) reached their peak populations comparatively early (1911 and 1926). Each has lost approximately 50 percent of its population. The Left Bank includes such landmarks as St. Germain, Hotel des Invalides and the Eiffel Tower.

Near Northern Arrondissements Peaked Around the Turn of the 20th Century: The near northern arrondissements (8e through 11e) reached their population peaks somewhat earlier (1881 through 1911). The greatest population loss has occurred in the 8th Arrondissement, which is down 63.4 percent from its 1901 peak. Despite a loss of 38.5 percent from its 1911 peak, the 11th Arrondissement is now the most densely populated in the municipality, at 105,421 per square mile (40,672 per square kilometer). Near northern landmarks include Gare d' L'Est, Gare du Nord and Gare St. Lazare.

Central Area Loss Rivals St. Louis: The central area that roughly corresponds to the pre-1860 boundaries (Arrondissements 1 through 11) peaked in 1901, at 1,268,000. By 1999, the population had dropped to 596,000, a loss of 53 percent. An analysis of 110 developed world municipalities that have lost population indicates that only St. Louis (minus 60 percent) has lost a greater proportion of its population than central Paris. The central area's population density was 121,797 per square mile in 1901, and 57,239 in 1999 (46,990 and 22,082 respectively per square kilometer).

Outer Arrondissements Peaked Much Later: The outer arrondissements (12e through 20e), which roughly correspond to the area added to the municipality in 1860, reached their population peak in 1954. The 13th and 19th Arrondissements reached their peak in the 1999 census, the only arrondissements at their population peak. The outer arrondissments include such landmarks as Basilique Sucre Coeur, the Arc d' Triomphe, Gare Montparnasse and Gare d'Austerlitz.

Latest Data Shows Lower Population Loss Rate: In the last census period, the rate of population decline was slightly reduced from the previous census period (1982 to 1990). At a minus 1.3 percent, the loss represented the lowest rate since losses resumed in the 1954 to 1962 census period. As in the past, the greatest losses occurred in the inner areas. The Left Bank (5e-7e) experienced the largest 1990 to 1999 population loss, at minus 6.6 percent, while the center arrondissements (1e-4e) registered a minus 4.7 percent. The near northern arrondissements (9e-11e) experienced a minus 2.7 percent rate. In each case of these three inner areas, there was a slight quickening of the rate of loss from the previous census period (1982 to 1990). The outer arrondissements (12e-20e) remained virtually constant, with a loss of 0.1 percent. This compares to a 1.3 percent loss in the previous census period.

80 Years of Suburban Growth and Central City Decline: Since the 1920s, virtually all growth in the Paris area has been suburban. The ville de Paris accounted for all but approximately 2 million metropolitan area residents in 1921. By 2005, the suburban population had expanded approximately 9.3 million. The Paris urban area ranks 528th in density among the world's 707 identified urban areas with 500,000 or more population.

Paris Remains the Most Dense Major Municipality in the Developed World: Nonetheless, Paris remains by far the developed world's most densely populated major municipality (over 1,000,000), at 63,374 per square mile, excluding the peripheral parks, (24,450 per square kilometer). The ville de Paris is approximately double the density of the former municipality of Tokyo (now the 23 wards), three times as dense as inner London and six times as dense as the municipality of Greater London. Paris is at least 2.5 times as dense as the municipality of New York (however, the borough of Manhattan, or pre-1898 municipality of New York is more dense than the ville de Paris).

Definition of urban terms


The assistance of M. Gerard Jigaudon of le Conservatoire national des arts et metiers (CNAM) is gratefully acknowledged.

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