It is the worst-off in French society who have paid the heaviest price for the financial crisis. That is the main finding of the 2016 report by the official statistical agency the Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques (INSEE) on “Household incomes and capital”, published on June 28th. Though the figures are not surprising they are nonetheless alarming: during the five years from 2008 to 2013, the years in which the effects of the world financial crisis were greatest, the median standard of living of French people fell on average by 0.2% a year or 1.1% in total. This fall, says the report, is “unprecedented” since such studies began in 1996. Indeed, for the bottom 10% of households income fell by 3.5% over that period. In other words, the financial crisis greatly increased inequalities. INSEE also highlights trends in poverty levels, talking about an “unprecedented worsening in France”.
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