Data - Chiffres : Society - Société


HEALTH: I was not aware that one of the main causes of death in America was homicides. Many of the French students responded to the word United States with the word violence. This statistic unfortunately gives some credit to their responses.

The site listed cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, accidents, homicides, and respiratory disease as the leading causes of death among Americans. I was surprised to find that cancer was missing among this list. It listed cardiovascular disease, tumors (cancer?), and respiratory disease as the leading causes of death in France. Do you feel that this is an accurate statistic?

FAMILY: The quid site confirmed many of French responses on the phrase "A Good Parent." The site said that the responsabilities of a good parent were to look after his/her child and provide for a good upbringing. Many of the French responses were to provide a proper upbringing (education).

An interesting statistic from the quid comparison:

Taux de fécondité des adolescentes:

US: 58%

France: 12%

My attempts to translate this resulted in either the pregnancy rate among adolescents, or the rate of sexual activity among adolescents. I'm not sure which translation is best, so please let me know!

I have to assume it's the latter (rate of sexual activity). 58% must be WAY too high for the pregnancy rate. Also, it doesn't define adolescent, but I'm guessing under 18.

So, my question is, why is this? Previous discussion suggested that the French are more romantically inclined than Americans. Could it be the Catholic influence in France? This is just a guess. Even so, I didn't expect this, because America is a very religious country. Publicly, I think it is probably more religious than France. Also, it could be differences in sexual education in school. What is this like in France?


So trying to compare how families are similar/differ in the USA and in France I looked up the following statistic:

USA: Self-Identified Unmarried Partners 1995 2,641,000; 1996 2,858,000; 1997 3,079,000;

--source Current Population Survey, U.S. Census Bureau.

France: Couples de concubins: 1975 446,000; 1982 810,000; 1990 1,700,000; 1996 2,500,000;


where according to the web page 'concubinage' is when a heterosexual couple are not married and live together.

Unfortunatedly can only compare the 1996 numbers, which are about the same. But considering that the population of the USA is about 5 times that of France (270M vs 60M). The number in France seems exceptionaly large compared to the US. Specially if we consider that the US's definition here is broader (would include homosexual couples).

This somehow contradicts my assumption that France is a more catholic country with stronger family values. Maybe is the other way around, and is in the USA that 'traditional' families are more common. What do you think? What about the divorces? maybe the americans are all married but get more divorced anyway? And French culture accepts the concubinage alternative more openly.

Yesterday I learned that the United States spends a greater percentage of its GNP on healthcare than France. Do you think that this would be closer if we ate less burgers and more croissants? Personally, I think it's because we truly appreciate the beauty of painkillers.

From the statistics I've read and the forums, I've learned that we are a more violent country than you. But the other day, Stephane and I were drinking and got into an argument over French grammar, which ended in him beating me senseless. Explain that.

We have more Nobel Prizes. What's up now?

HEALTH: The quid web site states that the United States spends more money on health care than France; however, for some strange reason, the number of patients per hospital bed is 217 in the US, and only 103 in France. I also noticed that there are 368 people per doctor in France, whereas for the US it is 256. One would expect that if France spent less money than the US on health care and they had less doctors, there would be more patients per hospital bed in comparison to the US, and both the mortality and infant mortality rate would be higher, but they're not. I think that these statistics show that the French as a whole are healthier than Americans. I think that these statistics show that the French as a whole are healthier than Americans.Maybe your idea of all Americans having 'big fridges' wasn't such a crazy idea after all...

This goes along with Fernando and Geoff's comments. I found from one of the French websites that the divorce rate in France is about 40%, compared to 52% for the United States. I think that maybe more Americans are inclined to get married and then divorced rather than live together as an un-married couple. Personally, I can only think of a few couples I know that aren't married, yet I know a countless amount of couples who are or have been divorced.

LANGUAGES SPOKEN: I wanted to find a topic that not many peole would touch on, so I wanted to do some research on the different languages spoken in the United States and in France. I was looking through the 1990 Census and realized that one of the Census questions was focused in trying to figure out what other languages besdies English were being spoken in American homes. The most popular non-English language was Spanish, then French, and then German. There were others, but thise were the top three.

That wasn't the interesting thing... What I found most interesting is the following: out of the 17,339,172 people that spoke Spanish at home only 9,033,407 spoke English fluently (about half).. and 1,460,145 didn't speak English at all. Out of the 1,702,176 that spoke French 1,226,043 of them were fluent in English and ond only 8,219 didn't speak English at all. The German-home speaken population had numbers very similar to those of the French-speaking households. I find this very interesting because there seems to be a big emphasize for European countries to have people learn English.

When I looked through the languages that were being thought in France, not surprisingly enough, English came in first place with 87.6% of students being taught English. Why is it so important for English to be taught in France? I'm not really sure why the Spanish population doesn't have bigger numbers speaking fluent English, but a reason maybe that there are more Spanish speaken immigrants in this country.


Like Timothy, i also found that the divorce rate was 52% among American couples as opposed to 40% for French couples. Though i think in both countries it has become increasingly "popular" for the majority of mariages to end in divorce (and i'm sure most of you students can attest to knowing divorced parents) i think this statistic greatly reflects upon the role of parenting in both countries. With over half the mariages in the States ending in divorce, the role of a [single] parent becomes increasingly difficult. I think part of the reason that many children here misbehave or don't have manners is the fact that it is more difficult in many ways for a single parent to educate their child -- whether it be due to time constraints, lack of resources , etc. In fact, at least in America, it is not unusual to see most children educated by television. 81.6% of homes in the US have a tv as opposed to only 41.2% in the US. Though this statistic may not be totally indicative of the role of media educating children, i believe a good number of children are brought up with television as a "third parent"

Expected Lifetime in US: 76. Expected Lifetime in France: 78

Why do the French have a longer lifetime than Americans? Probably the quality of the food. But also factors of healthcare systems and Red Wine consumption per capita may come into play.

On the Quid: Comparaisons Internationales it says that the official languages of the United States are both English and Spanish. Is this true? What do other people think about this?

I just looked up statistics for both france and the usa from the CIA website and here is what they have: France USA life excpectancy(pop) 78.76 77.12 life expectancy (male) 74.85 74.24 life expectancy (female) 82.89 79.9

so you see that there isn't much difference among males in france and the usa, however you do see a difference among females. Therefore I don't think it is a lifestyle issue since the male life expectancy is the same for both countries.

and for the argument about literacy rates we had in class France = 99 % US = 97 % definition of literacy = people over 15 who can read and write

unemployment France = 11% US = 4.2 % but if you've taken 14.02 you might know that you can't strictly compare these two numbers because other factors come in to play. one for example is that in france children are supported by their parents for a longer period of time (this may lead to higher % but may not really indicate unemployment).

one interesting difference is the # of internet service providers France : 128 data from 1999 US: 7,600 data from 1999

yeah sorry the table for the life expectancy didn't come out well here it is again:

life excpectancy(pop) France 78.76 US 77.12 life expectancy (male) France 74.85 US 74.24 life expectancy (female)France 82.89 US 79.9


I found on the quid web site that only 1% of women own property, which seems incredibly low for today's standards. My question is if it's not popular among married couples to own land jointly? What about divorces; are things usually split half/half?


I was looking up population demographics on the quid site, and I got some interesting results.... In the U.S., 83% of the population is white (14.5% of this group is Hispanic or Mexican), 12.1% is black, and the rest is comprised of Asians, Native Americans, etc. In France, 93.6% are French nationals, 1.1% is Portuguese, 1.1% is Algerian, 1% is Moroccan, and so on.

With regard to what was already discussed about chauvinism/ the integration of foreigners into French culture, this data seems to make sense. Since France hosts a much lower percentage of minorities, it is reasonable that foreigners would have a much more difficult time having their voice heard.... Would you agree?

On the other hand, I found (also on quid), that the number of tourists per year in the U.S. is 49,000,000, while it's 66,800,000 in France! This was surprising, since the U.S. is much larger. Since France hosts such a great number of diverse vistors (greater than its population, in fact), wouldn't you think that the French people would be more receptive to diversity? Also, just curious, but would you say that the greater number of tourists in France is due to France's much longer, richer history? (And hence there are more things of historical significance to see?)


The quid also said that the U.S.'s national motto is "In God We Trust," while France's national motto is Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. I was just wondering whether the concept of "separation of church and state" exists in France. If so, how strict is it? I'm actually confused why the U.S., being a strong believer in the separation of church and state, would adopt such a motto.... Does anyone know?

I noticed that some of the main causes of diseases in the US are AIDS, accidents, and homicides. These were not listed on the French side. This sort of makes me ashamed of America ; all of these are stupid things caused by people themselves, not by something they could not prevent. To me, this seems to indicate that French people thing more before they do something, while Americans just act rashly in the spare of the moment. Do you guys think this is true?

Update on "taux de fecondite des adolescentes":

(see comment #3)

I have learned that this is actually the teenage pregnancy rate, which shows an amazing difference. I am having trouble believing that 58% of American teens get pregnant, however. Does anyone have any other data for this? Maybe it's just me but this seems way too high.

If it is true, then is this due to the number of adolescents having sex, or to the availability of birth control? I mentioned my guess that the Catholic influence in France had something to do with this, but perhaps birth control is more available there? Here in the US it is basically easy to come by condoms, etc., although the birth control pill must be prescribed by a doctor. What is the situation in France?

CORRECTION to "taux de fecondite"

The teenage pregnancy rates are per 1000 people, as I just found out on another website! So that means that the percentages are 5.8% for the US and 1.2% for France. That makes more sense. The quid website didn't say the units anywhere.

In any event, the rate is still 4-5 times higher in the US, so I think my points and questions from above (#3 and 20) still stand.

HEALTH: So I dug through a lot of data to find these statistics - smoking rates among the French: in 1996 - Men: 35%, Women: 1980 - Men: 46%,Women: 17%

and in the US: in 1995 - Men: 24%, Women: 1983 Men: 28%, Women: 26%

I found the above statistics interesting for a couple of reasons. First, just looking at the French statistics one can see a clear decline in smoking rates over the years. This decline could be due to a number of reasons, but the 2 largest reasons are probably the increase in the price of cigarettes because of higher taxes. Apparently, between 1991 and 1996, the price of a cigarette doubled in France. I would have that the price elasticity of cigarettes is rather low however, due to the addictive nature of cigarettes. A far better explanation would probably be the discovery of the serious negative effects of cigarettes on health and the rising health conciousness among the population. The American rates of smoking are lower than the French smoking rates. Also, they don't seem to show that the same declining trend that the French statistics show, though there has been some movement over the last decade. I have several questions to put to the forum: Why do you think there has been such a drastic decline in the smoking rates among French men in the past decade, yet not women? What accounts for this gender difference? Also, what aspects of french culture support a greater population of smokers? Do you think that the general declining trend will continue and perhaps converge to the US smoking rates?

On social indicators, France does better. Perhaps it has a better quality of life. Illiteracy in the US is 15%, while in France it is near 0. The life expectancy in France is higher (78 compared to 76%). The gap is greater if one looks at the minorities in the US.

A recent WHO report found the health care system to be better in France, and also cheaper.

But the worrying thing for France is that it has more people in the older age groups. It is not significantly different from the US, but I think that the US has more immigration which to some extent offsets this problem.

Just to add to the health information, infant mortality in France is 5, while that of the US is 7.3. But probably the white infant mortality is lower in the US. The US has a larger percent of poor minorities. The lack of equality for the minorities is one reason for poor health performance. This is not to say that France treats its minorities better, just that they have fewer ones to treat badly.

Also, the US spends 14.1 % of its GDP on health, while France spends 9.8%. But France has a better health record. Apart from the minority problem, the US system is also skewed towards treating the rich better.

How important is smoking in France? Does pleasure come before health? Also with all that smoking, especially as compared to the fearful Ameircans, how do you still manage to have better health than the Americans? Maybe there is something to smoking. Actually recent research shows that smokers have a lower chance of getting Parkinson's or Alzheimer's as nicotine mimics dopamine which is good for treating alzheimers and Parkinson's.

EDUCATION I was pretty surprised to learn that the illiteracy rate in France was ~0. Is this actually true?


I found interesting figures in the site about people's beliefs and practices in France in terms of religion. The baptisims have been decreasing throughout the years, but not that significantly: 1980 - 64%, 1985,1990 - 62%, 1996 - 58%. So has the number of people practicing the religion: 1948 - 37%, 1968 - 25%, 1987 - 13%, 1997 - 16%. Those who do not practice and do not believe at all are 24% (in 1997 I think). Then catholic marriages: 1980 - 217479 catholic, 334000 civil; 1990 - 147146 cath, 280000 civil; 1993 - 132129 cath,, not too few still. Though the total number of your marriages seems to be decreasing..Why might that be? Un Francais out of 4 visits a holly place every year (sanctuaire). I find that a very impressive statistic...

To confirm the above, the polls say that 67% of the French pronounce themselves catholic, but....24% believe in the Big Bang and less - 21% believe that God created the world from nothing. 8% like chaos theory - they say that the world was a created by a chain of coincidences. And 6% say that it was all as the Bible said it.

So, after I poured all these numbers over you, what do you make out of them? Are the French as religious as they seem? Then why do they trust science so much? (the Big Bang) I had the impression that people don't practice religion regularly...Are the polls wrong?

Prix Nobel: Pour Neville, on a effectivement moins de prix nobel sauf en litérature, on vient d'ailleurs d'en avoir un nouveau.... Sinon pour ce qui est des médailles Fields, on est le deuxième pays après vous bien sur!!!!

Langues: Pour répondre à Diana, si on apprends autant l'anglais c'est parce que c'est un pays anglophone qui domine et impose sa langue dans les sciences, l'économie, la diplomatie, internet,... L'espagnol ou le chinois sont peut-etre beaucoup parlés mais ne sont pas la langue de la première puissance du monde. Pour ces raisons l'anglais est vital. Ici, par exemple à l'INT, l'anglais est obligatoire.

Religion: En réponse à Gergana, la religion en France est difficile à cerner, car si beaucoup disent croire en Dieu et ainsi se disent Catholiques, peu sont pratiquants (16% me semble un bon nombre). Et puis ici, on est assez compliqué, les français aiment bien avoir un avis critique sur leur religion. Surtout (réponse à Gayani) depuis la séparation de l'Eglise et de l'Etat en 1905. Ainsi, cela fairait un véritable scandale si comme vous les candidats à la présidentielle finissaient chacun de leur discours avec un "God bless France".


I was interested in checking the difference in urbanization between the United States and France. shows that France has a much higher population density (no surprise there): 106.5 versus the 29.2 in the US. (Unfortunately, doesn't give units!)

Although both countries have the same sized rural population (25% in the US, 24.9% in France) and approximately the same sized suburban population (67% US, 59.3% France), the Americans classify urban populations differently. The French report statistics for cities of 100,000+ inhabitants, but the Americans report statistics for 1,000,000+ inhabitants. I hypothesize that this shows that the French think of suburbia as part of the surrounding city, but the Americans think of suburbia as part of the rural area that surrounds it.

If this is on the right track, it suggests one explanation for why Americans think of suburbs as having trees and lawns, but the French think of them in terms of concrete. It suggests one reason why Americans think of the prototypical public place as a park (wild) but the French think of the garden (tame).

Réponse à Neville (au message #6). Je suis un homme violent, alcoolique et raciste. Voilà l'explication.

We have more Nobel Prizes. What's up now?

More idiots too, no ?


Religion: There is a concept of "separation of church and state" in France, and it's very strict, and something the State is really attached to, contrary to the US (no french politician would say something like "god bless you, god bless france"...).

I think one of the reason for the "In god we trust" paradox is that the US was founded politically by atheists/agnostics freethinkers like Jefferson ("I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature."...), while most of the population were firm believers. Maybe a compromise had to be made?

La raison me semble être claire:vos assurances santé totalement privées coûtent extrêmement cher en plus de l'effroyable exclusion qu'elles génèrent. De plus, notre style de vie etant plus sain et equilibré (même si votre modele s'exporte dangereusement bien),nous pouvons utiliser ses fonds à des fins plus glorifiantes.

RELIGION : Beaucoup de Français sont très hypocrites vis-à-vis de la religion, c'est pourquoi il ne faut pas trop se fier aux chiffres, surtout s'ils considèrent que les gens baptisés (souvent à l'Ĺge de 3 mois) sont catholiques !

En vérité en France il y a ceux qui ne sont pas croyants, ceux qui sont pratiquants et une grande partie qui ne croient pas mais continuent à faire semblant (genre baptiser leurs enfants, aller à la messe de temps en temps...) pour faire "bien". En fait la France n'est pas un pays très religieux, en tous cas beaucoup moins que les US. D'ailleurs nous tenons beaucoup à la séparation de l'Eglise et de l'Etat, même si je trouve qu'il se passe encore des choses inadmissibles dans ce domaine.

En réponse à Geoffrey (message#3) En fait, le chiffre que tu as trouvé n'est pas un pourcentage. Le taux de fécondité est le nombre de femme ayant un enfant sur mille femmes au hasard. Je pense que les adolescents français sont mieux informés sur le sexe que les américains et que les discussions à ce sujet sont moins tabou. Du fait d'être (peut-être) moins puritains nous en parlons plus facilement et du coup faisons plus attention. De plus, les moyens de contraception (preservatifs, pillules...) me semblent plus accessibles en France.Par exemple, à Paris, il y a des distributeurs de préservatifs dans le métro et c'est plus facile de les acheter là que dans une pharmacie.


L'adolescente en France a un taux de fécondité plus bas qu'aux Etats-Unis pour plusieurs raisons: tout d'abord, le préservatif fait partie des moeurs sexuelles françaises. La pillule contraceptive est très répandue aussi et les femmes peuvent avorter sur simple demande à paritr de 18 ans (si elles sont plus jeunes, elles doivent demander l'avis de leurs parents). Les Français sont aussi assez responsables car ils ne veulent pas se retrouver pères trop jeunes (ex: moi). Il n'y a pas d'explication religieuse là-dedans. Les jeunes sont assez libérés de ce point de vue, même s'il y a toujours des PAM (Pas Avant le Mariage). Le catholicisme est vu comme une religion en France et il conditionne assez peu les actes de la vie de tous les jours, même pour ceux qui se disent croyants.

La vraie question est : les Américains sont-ils moins responsables que les Français quand il s'agit de la gaudriole?


There are 3.25 million people aged 25-49 that are unemployed in France. Is this a low figure or high figure? Employment is at its lowest in the United States, I just wanted to now how that number compares to previous years in France.


Do you think religion really plays a very important role in today's youth's life? It seems that in France it is very important to do what society thinks would be right and that it is a parent's duty to teach a child how to behave in society. If this is so, wouldn't it seem that many people would go to church in order to do what society expects from them rather that because they are truly religious and believe in going to mass every Sunday?


In response to the questions about life expectancy, I may have found an answer. In the US, there are 7.3 infant deaths per thousand, and in France, it's 5. But, both countries have an overall mortality rate of 9/thousand (I'm assuming that this means per year, because we all know that more than 9 in a thousand people actually die...). So, if you do the math, the infant rate probably brings down the average life expectancy in the US, when in actuality, once you live past infancy, it's exactly the same.

This is a response to Cecile's comment: I agree that there are a large number of irresponsible adolescents when it comes to sex. However,in recent years, I believe that the number of irresponsible adolescents has decreased. With the rise of STD's, especially HIV, there has been a huge effort to educate teenages on the risks of having unprotected sex and how to protect yourself. I don't think that this subject is considered taboo here. Like in France, contraception is easy to obtain by simply going to a clinic. Although, we haven't gotten to the point where we can get it in our subways or bus stations :).

I guess you're right about a "compromise" being made between the freethinkers and the religious, Eric. But even if most of the U.S. population consisted of firm believers, it still doesn't make sense that religion is referred to so often in American government. Some examples: "In God We Trust" is found on U.S. currency, witnesses in court swear on the Bible, the Pledge of Allegiance contains the words "one nation under God," and yes, there is the ever-present "God Bless America" at the end of a speech. I guess the concept of "separation of church and state" is stressed a lot here, but not enforced very strictly.

Since you said France is very attached to the concept of separation of church and state, does a politician's religion not influence his chance of winning an election? I think the media made a somewhat-big deal of the fact that Al Gore is running for the U.S. Presidency with a Jewish running mate (Joe Lieberman)....

Reply to Cecile:

Thank you for your reply. Also, sorry for getting the numbers wrong initially. You are correct, the numbers are per 1000 women.

It is interesting that the teenage pregnancy rate is so much lower in France. You give several good reasons. I agree that sex is probably less of a taboo subject in France. However, contraception is easy enough to get here in the US, as Kelly mentioned. I suspect the differences may be the education programs in the schools, which in some parts of the country focus too much on teaching abstinence over contraceptive methods, in my opinion.

This also applies to Harold's question.

I don't believe that Americans are less responsible when it comes to sex. I think it is more a case of some American teens not knowing the details of birth control. This is because some parents don't teach these things to their kids, and then often the schools don't do enough to pick up the slack. So I blame it mostly on education. Maybe some of my American classmates can back me up on this? Are there parts of the US where birth control is not taught in schools? I know I learned this stuff in school, but I can't speak for everyone.

Patricia, je pense que dans la société française, cela n'est pas très bien vu d'avoir des convictions religieuses, surtout chez les jeunes : les médias sont très anti-cléricaux et le "politiquement correct" actuel est la libération des moeurs. Par exemple, les eglises sont loin d'être pleines le dimanche et les personnes qui y vont sont surtout des personnes Ĺgées.

Pour les jeunes catholiques français la situation a tout de même évolué depuis les JMJ (World youth days) à Paris puis à Rome. Nous n'allons pas plus à la messe le dimanche mais nous avons moins peur de ce que les autres pensent.

With all this talk about teenage pregnancy and irresponsible sex, I'm curious to know how you all would feel about the following proposition:

Given the world population growth (which is, by almost any measure, staggering), how would you react to a mandate from either the US government or the French government that couples are limited to having at most two children?

While this would certainly be unconstitutional in both countries, practically speaking it does not sound so unreasonable, no? I am aware that some religions preach we should have as many children as possible, but this idea predates modern medicine and an incredible infant survival rate. What do people think?

Also, how many of you are aware (I know I wasn't until a class last semester) that there was a period in recent US history when forced sterilizations were legal? That is, a state could forcibly sterilize those labeled with a serious mental illness, or handicap. In fact, however, the sterilizations often included people who were simply poor.

Does this shock you? I know it blew my mind. But I can see how it would appeal to a eugenics minded individual.

I think Diana's comments about languages spoken are extremely interesting. I also found Guillaume's response very revealing. There seemed to be a hint of disquiet in his words, or irritation, or something like that. Is this true, or am I reading into things? (I do have a tendency to do that).

English is obligatory... is that a sore point for students at the INT? Judging by Guillaume's words, I would conclude that it is. While I might agree that forcing students to specifically learn English might be unpalatable. However, in general I am very much in favor of schools forcing students to acquire foreign language skills. I think learning a different language opens up ones mind in ways that are critical for developing higher-order thinking skills. Thus, it is especially important to begin training in a foreign language while student are young.

Anybody have an opinion on this?

Emploi: En réponse à Patricia, Il est vrai que notre taux de chomage est beaucoup plus important qu'aux US mais il diminue depuis a peu près deux ans et les chiffres que vous trouvez sur les sites correspondent en fait au maximum. Aojourd'hui le taux de chomage est de est autour de 9.3 contre près de 12 pour les chiffres que vous trouvez. En fait, la France et l'Europe sont sortis de la crise plus tard que les USA et la croissance du à la nouvelle économie ne se fait sentir que depuis deux ans... Cependant le chomage est encore un problème pour la France, il était et est la préoccupation majeure du gouvernement, mais on espère bientôt revenir à un taux plus normal.

Salut Ian,

En fait, je ne critique pas l'apprentissage de l'anglais ni des autres langues que je trouve indispensable et très bénéfique. Si mon ton semblait pas des plus gentil vis à vis de l'anglais ce n'est pas parce que je ne l'aime pas (au contraire), mais seulement par mesquinerie et plaisir de s'attaquer à ce monopole linguistique qu'elle représente! Je trouve dommage que ce ne soit pas le français, le monde pourrait être plus romantique!!!! ;-)

Ian,je pense qu'il y a trop de natalité dans des pays en voie de développement et pas dans des pays comme la France et les US. En France, il n'y a pas assez de naissances et cela va poser de gros problèmes dans le futur (manque de main d'oeuvre, retraites etc). La politique des différents gouvernements français est plutôt d'encourager les naissances grĹce notamment aux allocations familiales : financièrement, il est plus intéressant d'avoir 2 enfants plutôt que 1, 3 que 2 etc... (même si je trouve que l'argument est insuffisant...)

Je repond à la question de Gayani Tillekeratne (gayani@MIT.EDU) :

RELIGION: [...] I wasjust wondering whether the concept of "separation of church and state" exists in France. If so, how strict is it? [...]

La france est un Pays LAIC c'est a dire que la séparation entre les religions est totale. Dieu n'a rien a faire dans institutions francaises et en fait l'etat ne s'occupe pas du tout de religion, de quelque maniere que ce soit.

un commentaire à Kelly A Martens.

En france les adolescente on acces a la Contraception Gratuitement et dans le secret (elles n'ont pas a informer les parents). De plus il ya des distributeurs de préservatifs un peu partout : dans le metro, les lycées, dans la rue, dans les universités, à l'INT... Pas Besoin d'aller dans une pharmacie...