France's population 120 million

Sep 2012
286
Argentina
France was the first country to see a decrease in its birth rates in Europe. We can go back as far as late XVIII century to see the start of the decrease. The French population only grew by 8.6% between 1871 and 1911, while Germany's grew by 60% and Britain's by 54%.

France had an already "old" population by the 1790s. The cause of this is purely cultural. Estimates say that if France had the same growth rates UK and Germany enoyed during that period current population would be around 120 million. That's almost twice as much as the 60 million something they have now

The question is How would this have aected the course of history?




I think France would probably have never lost the position of the first military power in continental Europe and the history of Germany would have been totally different. It would have formed much later(if it actually did) and in a reduced form. WW1 and WW2 would probably have never happened. And the actual war would have been between France and a coalition of other countries ust like it happened during the Napoleonic wars. And France would have probably won. Can you imagine how different the world would have been if this had happened?
 

Isoroku295

Ad Honorem
Jan 2009
8,488
In the Past
Firstly, that 120 million number isn't happening. It would be slums and starving people everywhere.

Anywhere near that, probably wouldn't have changed much. Perhaps held some colonies a bit longer.
 
Sep 2012
286
Argentina
Firstly, that 120 million number isn't happening. It would be slums and starving people everywhere.

Anywhere near that, probably wouldn't have changed much. Perhaps held some colonies a bit longer.
I don't see why it isn't happening?

Germany's population at its peak was 82 million(2007). France is 1.7 times bigger than Germany. So in theory they could handle having 1.7 times 82 million people(that's almost 140 million persons). And I don't see anyone starving in Germany!
 
Apr 2015
519
United States
I don't see why it isn't happening?

Germany's population at its peak was 82 million(2007). France is 1.7 times bigger than Germany. So in theory they could handle having 1.7 times 82 million people(that's almost 140 million persons). And I don't see anyone starving in Germany!
You're assuming that all land in both nations is capable of sustaining huge populations.
 

Isoroku295

Ad Honorem
Jan 2009
8,488
In the Past
I don't see why it isn't happening?

Germany's population at its peak was 82 million(2007). France is 1.7 times bigger than Germany. So in theory they could handle having 1.7 times 82 million people(that's almost 140 million persons). And I don't see anyone starving in Germany!
Percentage of land is not a major factor here. 120 million is simply too much for France to sustain.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,222
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Only following the Japanese model, France could sustain a population of 120 millions of inhabitants.

Today Japan counts 127 millions of inhabitants with a surface of about 373,000 KM2.

France has got a surface of about 544,000 KM2 [France is enormous as surface because of its square form] with a population around 67 millions of inhabitants.

Applying the social organization and the model of economy of Japan, France could reach and pass 130 millions of inhabitants. But I do doubt French people would live like Japanese ...
 

Isoroku295

Ad Honorem
Jan 2009
8,488
In the Past
Only following the Japanese model, France could sustain a population of 120 millions of inhabitants.

Today Japan counts 127 millions of inhabitants with a surface of about 373,000 KM2.

France has got a surface of about 544,000 KM2 [France is enormous as surface because of its square form] with a population around 67 millions of inhabitants.

Applying the social organization and the model of economy of Japan, France could reach and pass 130 millions of inhabitants. But I do doubt French people would live like Japanese ...
Or the Germans. Or English. I don't know if they could easily adjust to a more cramped lifestyle.
 

Grimald

Ad Honorem
Nov 2011
5,908
Hercynian Forest
I don't see why it isn't happening?

Germany's population at its peak was 82 million(2007). France is 1.7 times bigger than Germany. So in theory they could handle having 1.7 times 82 million people(that's almost 140 million persons). And I don't see anyone starving in Germany!
I don't think you can compare today's situation with the situation back in 1871 or 1911. The high population density in Germany today is not the result of a natural development, but the loss of a third of the territory and the expulsion of the tens of millions of people who lived in those territories. Also, agriculture today is no longer as critical for providing for a large population as it was in 1871 or even in 1911.

In 1911, Germany and France had territories of approximately the same size: Germany covered 540,858 km2, whereas France covered 536,408 km2. Germany indeed had a larger population with 64.9 million versus the 39.6 million of France. So yes, the demography of France was lagging behind, but not to the extent you may have in mind.
 
Sep 2012
286
Argentina
I don't think you can compare today's situation with the situation back in 1871 or 1911. The high population density in Germany today is not the result of a natural development, but the loss of a third of the territory and the expulsion of the tens of millions of people who lived in those territories. Also, agriculture today is no longer as critical for providing for a large population as it was in 1871 or even in 1911.

In 1911, Germany and France had territories of approximately the same size: Germany covered 540,858 km2, whereas France covered 536,408 km2. Germany indeed had a larger population with 64.9 million versus the 39.6 million of France. So yes, the demography of France was lagging behind, but not to the extent you may have in mind.
I'm citing sources, and not making up my own numbers. Although they might be a bit outdated(1979 United Nations). They said at least 100 million people would live in France by then(more than 30 years ago) had its population grown as fast as Germany's during the XIX century. France had about 28 million people in 1790 and it was the second most populated country in Europe after Russia. I don't know what factors caused the slower growth rate(wars might had something to do with it)

But in any case, this thread is not about the possibility of France in getting to 120 million people by 2015, but about what would have happened during past times(particularly Franco Prussian war and World Wars) had France had a bigger population than it historically did

If effectively as you say France can't support 120 million people TODAY, that doesn't have anything to do with what I want to point, because I'm talking about the past when France's population, even in the hypothetical case where it grows faster, would still be far from reaching those numbers. They would have slowed down later, probably after the 1920s, before ever reaching the 120 million mark
 

Grimald

Ad Honorem
Nov 2011
5,908
Hercynian Forest
I'm citing sources, and not making up my own numbers. Although they might be a bit outdated(1979 United Nations). They said at least 100 million people would live in France by then(more than 30 years ago) had its population grown as fast as Germany's during the XIX century. France had about 28 million people in 1790 and it was the second most populated country in Europe after Russia. I don't know what factors caused the slower growth rate(wars might had something to do with it)
One reason might be that France in the 18th century already had a large population in comparison to other European countries. In contrast, Germany still lagged behind due to the effects of the Thirty Years' War, and thus one could hypothesize that the stronger growth after 1800 was part of the process of catching up. Similarly, in another wild speculation, one could say that the difference in fertility between France and Germany today might reflect the fact that Germany is overpopulated, whereas population density in France is still low. However, such hypotheses, albeit interesting, are mere speculation, and there are many arguments that could be brought up against them.

But in any case, this thread is not about the possibility of France in getting to 120 million people by 2015, but about what would have happened during past times(particularly Franco Prussian war and World Wars) had France had a bigger population than it historically did
The problem is that you cannot change just one factor in history. There was a reason why France lagged behind in population, and this reasons was rooted in mentality and culture. Maybe France was more developed than other countries in some regards, or as I mentioned above, had already experienced significant growth before?

If effectively as you say France can't support 120 million people TODAY, that doesn't have anything to do with what I want to point, because I'm talking about the past when France's population, even in the hypothetical case where it grows faster, would still be far from reaching those numbers. They would have slowed down later, probably after the 1920s, before ever reaching the 120 million mark
No, you misunderstood that - I didn't say that, on the contrary. Today, France could easily provide for a population of 120 million. The question is, could it have done so in 1911? As I said, agriculture was much less efficient a hundred years ago.