Increasing numbers of French people are living in poverty and the country is suffering rising inequality, according to the latest figures from the French government.
The statistics cover 2009, the latest data available, when the economic crisis was starting to bite.
In that year, 8.2 million people – out of a population of 60 million – lived under the official poverty threshold of 954 euros per month.
Compared with the previous year, the standard of living of the richest 10 percent went up by 0.7 percent; for the poorest 10 percent, it went down by 1.1 percent.
Olivier Bernard lives in a shelter run by a charity since losing his job and gets 400 euros per month of state aid.
He said “Four hundred euros a month, that is maybe 11 or 12 euros per day. Just to buy a metro ticket costs 1.70 euro. For a round trip that’s 3.40 euros: so you see how fast the money goes.”
Despite the worsening situation in France, with 13.5 percent of households below the poverty threshold, it compares well with the rest of Europe where the average poverty rate was 16.3 percent in 2009.