Doughnut of the Greater Paris Area (Grand Paris)

The Grand Paris has an incredible regional GDP but its Doughnut shows a different reality

We published last Friday a doughnut of the Greater Paris Area (Le Grand Paris).  (In French :

This area has an incredible regional GDP near 70% higher than that of the rest of the French regions levels. Yet Parisians do not seem more fulfilled than average.

We used the Theory of Doughnut to show the limits of the economic expansion. Without having the possibility of organizing a large consultation around this regional doughnut, we are proposing a diagram here using the indicators and statistics known at the metropolitan level.

Greater Paris

While the metropolis is prosperous in terms of mobility, health and an abundance of cultural offerings, the doughnut shows that the development of the metropolis does not benefit everyone. In terms of social equity, the region is quite unequal. The region concentrate more than 40% of the very high incomes of France. The Palma index shows that the income of the richest 10% is 1.5 times the income of the poorest 40%. The poorest populations are also those who suffer the most dire conditions in terms of housing and the environment. The Region has nearly 300,000 isolated inhabitants, without family or non-family circle (2.5% of the population). 4.9% of high school students are dropping out of school and nearly 5% of the population is illiterate. 

More than one in six inhabitants, or 15.6% of the population live below the poverty line, which is one point higher than the national average. 6.3% of the population suffers from food insecurity and 10% are said to be in poor housing, ie 1.2 million people, according to the Abbé Pierre foundation. Among them, 279,493 inhabitants or 2.3% of the population lives without a bathroom and 72,400 inhabitants have homes without water, indoor toilet or sanitation. We also note that 17% of households live in a situation of vulnerability or fuel poverty. With real political will, however, these problems would not be so difficult to resolve. 

In terms of employment, we note that the unemployment rate for young people aged 15-24 is close to 18%, this figure is high even if it is lower than the french national average (25.6%).

The issues of discrimination against women are particularly outrageous. On the one hand, the average net monthly salary of women in the Greater Paris Area  is up to 24% lower than that of men (Source Insee 2018). On the other hand, the gap in representation on the board of the Greater Paris Metropolis is significant. This body is chaired by Patrick Ollier, alongside seventeen vice-chairmen only men. There are only 68 women (32%) out of 208 elected to the Metropolis parlement. All the presidents of the political groups are all men. Among the 131 mayors of the Greater Paris metropolis, only 22% are women. Finally, the eleven territorial public establishments (EPT), outside Paris, which make up the Metropolis, are chaired by eleven men, without any female director.

A final bleak figure is abstention in the second round of regional elections last week. It stands at 66.74% or two out of three voters did not vote. This figure raises the question of the representativeness of elected officials. The majority of Valérie Pécresse was elected with less than 15% of the votes of registered voters and less than 9% of the population of Ile-de-France.

Environmental ceiling

The drawing of the doughnut also shows the pressure exerted on the environment and several indicators show the exceeding of critical thresholds. The footprint of the metropolis is disproportionate to its surface. The environmental footprint takes into account in particular the resources and land consumed for livestock, fishing, crops, construction, energy and water. The environmental footprint of the region would be 4.81 gha (global hectares per capita) for an average global biocapacity of 1.63 gha / capita. It would take the equivalent of 3 planets to ensure the current standard of living of Greater Paris.

The Region also has a protruding carbon footprint. This concerns greenhouse gas emissions, the source of climate change that risks making part of the planet totally uninhabitable within a few years. The earth can only absorb 1.6 tCO2 eq per year / inhabitant. The regional carbon footprint would be a little over 10.5 tCO2 eq per year / inhabitant, which is 556% of the acceptable limit. More than 5% of the French territory should be planted with new forests to offset as many carbon emissions.

Nitrogen and phosphorus pollution produced by industrial agriculture also far exceeds acceptable thresholds for the environment. Excessive use of fertilizers pollutes aquatic environments and causes eutrophication of rivers and coasts. The phosphorus discharge threshold per year should be 0.9kg per capita, it is 8.29kg per capita. Likewise, nitrogen emissions should be limited to 8.9 kg per inhabitant, they are 87.4 kg per inhabitant per year on average in France.

A final global indicator remains very alarming, it concerns biodiversity and the sixth mass extinction of the living. The Living Planet Index (LPI) gives the state of global biodiversity. The LPI published in 2020 warns of a collapse of 68% (precisely between -73% and -62%) of the populations followed by mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish between 1970 and 2016, i.e. more than two thirds of the fauna savage would have disappeared in less than 50 years in the world.




    Emma Bluck

    Marly-le-Roi, Paris region, France

    My core skill is strategic communications. I plan to promote and use the Doughnut as a tool for closing the value-action gap.

    Kimberly Byrd

    Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States of America

    The Doughnut of Justice forms the foundation of my sustainability teaching. I'm excited about collaborating/co-creating!

    olivier rovellotti

    Marseille, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France

    Love the visual, love data, I would love to think of a software tool to run workshops

    1 comment
    Emma Bluck over 1 year ago

    I live in this area and very much identify with this assessment of it. I am shocked however by the data on gender disparity. The fact that the Greater Paris Metropolis Board is all male depresses and alienates me.  Are they also white and fully able I ask myself?  

    1 0

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