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The 2015 recensement – census – is underway in France. It got going on 15th January (finishing 14th Feb for smaller communes 7,000 inhabitants) and a week or so later for larger places. The census is an ongoing affair in France, with certain parts of the country done each year and the whole nation covered within five years. For example, Nouzerines is being on a five-yearly-cycle that includes 2015, whereas our neighbouring commune in Creuse, Bussière St Georges, had its most recent census last year, 2014.

We’re being censused for the second time since living in France, the last one being in 2010. This year, we can do it online. The agent has given us the necessary codes and all we have to do is log in and get busy answering the questions. The website is at le-recensement-et-moi.fr which gives general information on what the census is all about and why it’s necessary, and you can see all the findings from previous years.

In honour of this year’s recensement, we got a house number! This was part of the rather splendid-sounding numérotation (numbering) of the houses in the commune. There’s only us living here at Les Fragnes, but we’re now 1 Les Fragnes.

Last time the census was taken there were 247 people in our commune of Nouzerines, with an extra 3 comptée à part i.e. second-homers. The population of France at 1 January 2015 was 66.32 millions. Dipping into a few more facts and figures, there are now 1.7 million families with 3 or more children (what’s called a famille nombreuse), and these account for 1 in 5 of French families. Families with an immigrant as the head of it are generally the largest, with their children tending to conform to the national average and having smaller families themselves.

Poor old Creuse continues to lose population. It was down to 120,156 in 2014 from 121,517 in 2012, and Limousin as a region (consists of Creuse, Corrèze and Haute Vienne) is down by a little over 3,000 to 735,889 in the same period. Between 1999 and 2011 Limousin’s population had increased by an amazing 27,000 (almost exclusively in Haute Vienne) but it’s falling again.

Well, I’ve taken a short break from writing this and filled in the census forms. It took about twenty minutes so not too onerous. So we’re all officially accounted for until 2020. Actually, it’s not so much stand up and be counted as sit down at your computer and count yourself!