Over 1 in 5 newborns given Islamic first name in France last year, almost 60% in Parisian suburb

By Thomas Brooke
3 Min Read

The number of newborn babies given an Islamic first name in France rose in 2022 to 21.8 percent nationally, up 1.1-percentage points on the previous year.

Birth name data published annually by the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), has been analyzed for eight consecutive years by the Fdesouche press review site which highlights the growing rise in births registered across France under an Islamic first name.

Since 1997, the figure has more than trebled from 7 percent of all newborns to 21.8 percent last year, but the rise is far more pronounced in certain concentrated areas of the country.

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For example, in Île-de-France, the most populous of France’s 18 regions, the number of newborns registered with an Islamic first name was 33.6 percent last year, up 7.7 percent in a decade. A deeper dive shows the department of Seine-Saint-Denis, a Parisian suburb to the northeast of the French capital, is the most highly concentrated with 58.3 percent of all newborns given a Muslim name.

Val-d’Oise, also a department in the Île-de-France region to the north of Paris, recorded a figure of 40.8 percent, while Val-de-Marne, to the capital’s south, recorded 38.2 percent.

Île-de-France as a region reported the highest average figure of 33.6 percent, followed by Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, which comprises the city of Marseille, came second with 23.4 percent.

Meanwhile, the region of Bretagne, or Brittany, to the country’s northwest, recorded the fewest births with Muslim names at 8.9 percent, up from 4.6 percent in 2012.

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The department of Cantal, located in the heart of The Alps in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, had the smallest concentration of Islamic births with just 2.1 percent.

The analysis, validated in 2019 by Jérôme Fourquet, a French political scientist and the director of international polling and market research firm IFOP since 2011, identifies two categories of Islamic names. The first is known as “strict Muslim first names” as outlined in the Quran, in addition to a second category labelled “Islamo-compatible first names” for which half of this figure is included in the count.

Examples of strict Muslim first names include Mohamed and its variations, Ibrahim, Younes, Imran, Youssef, Ismael, Ahmed, and many more.

Ethnic statistics are not available in France, so researchers must look into factors like how many people are born with Muslim names to determine demographic trends.

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