The study by the Elabe Institute showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were happy, and a third (32 percent) even said they were “very happy” – despite serious concerns about the rising cost of living and the climate crisis.
While these figures are down on the 2021 study, which showed 11 percent more French people responding that they were “happy” and seven percent more saying they were “very happy,” it is safe to say that the French population is still quite content.
However, the survey did show some differences when considering certain factors.
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81 percent of people who “make ends meet without financial restrictions” reported being happy, while only 54 percent who experience financial restrictions said they were happy.
The same was true within companies – executives and heads of organisations were much more likely to say they were happy (87 percent) than their subordinates.
When looking at how French people voted – 77 percent of the people who supported President Emmanuel Macron in the first round of the presidential election responded that “things are going well” when asked in the survey their personal situation.
This is higher than both people who voted further to the political Left and Right. As for those who supported Left-wing Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the first round, 63 percent said “things are going well.” This number was even lower for first-round supporters of Marine Le Pen – only 58 percent said “things are going well.”
Inflation and climate change
Almost all the people surveyed (91 percent) said they were concerned about a loss of household purchasing power due to inflation in the coming months.
And the French mood has dropped since October 2021, when the last survey was conducted. Overall, respondents feel less confident than they did last year (-4 percent), less “serenity” (-5 percent) and less satisfaction (-7 percent).
People also feel generally more weary, nostalgic, sad, angry, and fearful than they did in 2021.
Many are particularly concerned about how global issues like the climate crisis and inflation could impact their daily lives. 89 percent reported being worried that their day-to-day life will deteriorate as a result of price increases, and 85 percent reported being afraid of the consequences of climate change (eg flooding, natural disasters, and drought).
A large number of French people (74 percent) also said that they worry about their health deteriorating due to pollution and environmental problems.
Other surveys echo these results, showing an increase in concern over climatic events in France, particularly since the summer of 2022, which was marked by three significant heatwaves, forest fires, and widespread drought.
A poll published in August by Odoxa showed that seven out of ten French people “fear being personally affected by a climatic hazard.”
Of those feeling climate-anxious, age played a role, with 81 percent of those under 25 responding that they are personally afraid, in comparison of 62 percent of those aged over 65.