Paris: Is it too expensive – are you too poor

Beautiful for tourists - Expensive for residents. Street crossing in the 17th arrondissement of Paris.

Paris – differences between income classes deepens. The newspaper Lemonde explored this question in an interview with sociologists Monique Pincon-Charlot and Michel Pincon. These two, close to the anti-capitalist left. are researching among other things the state of social and urban segregation.

Specially in Paris the population has changed drastically since 1954. Whereas 34.5 percent of the population were in middle or higher occupations at the time, this figure had risen to 71.4 percent by 2010. This is due on the one hand to the de-industrialization since 1962, the banlieues and the global importance of Paris as a financial sector.

Rich and rich remain among themselves. In the “Beaux Quartiers” such as the 16th and 17th or suburbs such as Neuilly sur Seine, the wealthiest city in France, worlds of their own are formed and thus also a gap between the poor and the wealthy.

Caption of a courtyard in the neighboorhood of "Batignolles" in the 17th Arrondissement. The building is made of orange bricks and is quite dense. More then 6 storeys high the three buildings are filling the entire image.
Stacked housing for high earners – Building in the 17ème Arrondissement of Paris (Foto/ Urbanauth)

While Paris, as a cultural capital, offers its inhabitants many spectacles, exhibitions and places to go out, and is one of the first cities in the index of cities with the best standards of living, the situation is different a few steps behind the motorway that separates the city from its agglomeration:

The newspaper La Gazette des Communes looked into the question of the extent to which inequalities exist in the Greater Paris region and summarised them in a map. The Banlieues Argenteuil, Aulnay-sous-Bois, Montreuil and Saint Denis had a poverty rate of at least 20 percent at the end of 2015. Saint-Denis even exceeds the others with a rate of 35%. And that with a share of social buildings, that is around 33 percent.

In Saint Denis, north of Paris, a couple earns on average 2154 € per month. Singles are doing best with an average of 1487 € and still live at the minimum.

These are in stark contrast to the areas in the west of Paris, like La Defense, where more than half of the municipalities fail to meet the statutory quota of 20-25 percent of social buildings. Instead, suburbs like Neuilly Sur Seine, with a 5% share, prefer to pay fines and maintain their homogeneity.

After Paris, the rest?

The building situated in Saint Ouen is freshly built and part of a bigger renovation and revitalisation of urban spaces in the suburbs of Paris. Specially with the rising housing prices, many people from the middle class are driven out of the capital.
New developed area “Les Docks” in St. Ouen (93), a suburb of Paris, which becomes more and more interesting for investors. The 2024 Olympic Games and the opening of the new Porte de Clichy Palace of Justice contributing to it. (Foto/ Urbanauth)

In the light of the Grand Paris and its expansion of the infrastructure, one has to wonder to what extent the suburbs will be gentrified. Even though some municipalities, especially in the north, have so far taken measures to maintain diversity among the population, many students from the middle class are now moving to the suburbs.

It is not without reason that the left-wing medium StreetVox is concerned about developments in the Seine Saint Denis in the shadow of the 2024 Olympic Games. For example, commercial buildings, housing for students and migrant workers were destroyed. While the companies and students moved, this is not the case for the housing of the migrant workers. This, which had housed foreign workers since 1972, was replaced by a social building. But also the magnetic attraction of the Olympic Games on investors is a key question. We reported previously on JPMorgan and its AdvancingCities initiative.

The Olympic Village, which will accommodate a large number of Olympians with 17,000 beds, will later be converted into 22,000 apartments, 900 student accommodations and 100,000m² of commercial space. The newly created apartments will be marketed as condominiums with standing and will probably not be affordable for the average population of the Seine Saint Denis.

Saint Denis: JP Morgan investit dans la Seine Saint-Denis

Building of the city hall in Seine Saint Denis. The buidling is located in the departement 93.

La mairie de Saint Denis (Foto by Guillaume Baviere / CC by 2.0)

Selon différents médias, la banque américaine JPMorgan investira 30 millions de dollars (environ 27 millions d’euros) en région parisienne et en particulier dans le département de la Seine-Saint-Denis (93), dans le cadre de son initiative “AdvancingCities“. Europe1 rapporte dans un entretien avec Kyril Courboin, le directeur général français de JP Morgan France, que la banque souhaite investir une grande partie de son argent dans des associations caritatives qui luttent contre le chômage.

Le chômage est un problème majeur dans la région Seine-Saint-Denis (93), car elle est l’une des plus pauvres de France et limitrophe à Paris. Entre autres, des clubs tels que <<Les Compagnons du Devoir>>, <<>>, <<Sport dans la Ville>>, <<l’AFMAe>> seront soutenus financièrement. Selon Businesswire, l’efficacité des associations doit être améliorée et le chômage doit être combattu par des possibilités de formation en continue.  L’ensemble est presenté dans le cadre d’une responsabilité sociale, ainsi que d’investissements anthropologiques. Néanmoins, le timing est remarquablement bien fixé, puisque Paris 2024 accueillera les Jeux Olympiques, qui se dérouleront en grande partie dans le “93”.

Saint Denis: JP Morgan invests in the Seine Saint-Denis

Building of the city hall in Seine Saint Denis. The buidling is located in the departement 93.


Townhall of Saint-Denis, one of the poorer suburbs of the metropolitan regions of Paris (Foto by Guillaume Baviere / CC by 2.0)

According to various media reports, the American bank JPMorgan will invest 30 million dollars (approximately 27 million euros) in the greater Paris area and in particular in the Seine-Saint-Denis department (93), as part of its “AdvancingCities” initiative.

Europe1 reports in an interview with Kyril Courboin, the French managing director of JP Morgan France, that the bank wants to invest a large part of its money in charities that counteract unemployment.

Unemployment is a major problem, especially in the Seine-Saint-Denis (93) region, as it is one of the poorest in France, bordering on Paris. Among others, clubs such as “Les Compagnons du Devoir“, ““, “Sport dans la Ville”, “l’AFMAe” will be supported with money. According to Businesswire, the aim is to improve the efficiency of clubs and to combat unemployment by providing training opportunities to local citiziens. The whole project is marketed as part of a social responsibility and anthropological investment. Nevertheless, the timing is remarkably good, since Paris will host the Olympic Games in 2024, which will take place to a large extent in the “93”.