"Life is beautiful, fate deviates from it, no one plays with the same cards." More than twenty years after the release of the song "Born under the same star" by the group IAM, the lyrics could summarize the report published Thursday, June 8, by the Observatory of inequalities. In terms of income as well as wealth, educational success and health, inequalities "remain gaping" in France between the working classes and the wealthy, according to this independent body which is alarmed by a "social divide" dangerous for democracy.

"What is shocking is the gap between the public discourse on equal opportunities and reality," said at a press conference one of the two authors of the report, Louis Maurin, director of the Observatory of inequalities, which draws up an inventory every two years.

In recent years, the public debate has mainly focused on inequalities related to skin color, age or gender, to the point that the analysis "in terms of social positions" may have seemed "disqualified", lamented Louis Maurin, who denounces a "widespread hypocrisy in different political camps".

However, not only are managers paid much more than blue-collar and white-collar workers – the richest 10% earn nearly three times more than the poorest 10% – but they are also much less affected by job insecurity and poor housing. They also suffer less from certain health problems, to the point that a manager "can count on six more years of life" compared to a worker, details the report.

The Report on Inequalities in France, 2023 edition has just been released!
160 pages, 100 tables and graphs, a special report on the socialehttps://t.co/SmEgg4ocdf fracture

— Observatory of inequalities (@Obs_ineg) June 8, 2023

School "does not reduce enough" inequalities

In addition, the "social divide" is clearly felt in schools, which certainly "do not increase inequalities", but "do not reduce them enough".

Taken as a whole, the French population is increasingly educated, but in this area the gaps between social classes are not decreasing, stressed the other author of the report, Anne Brunner.

Thus, between 2010 and 2020, the share of children of blue-collar or white-collar workers who obtained a bac +5 level diploma doubled, from 6 to 13%, but that of the children of managers and intermediate professions also, from 22 to 40%.

Despite the decline of the working class for at least 30 years, differences between social classes "remain a powerful driver of fracking" and therefore of tensions in society, insist the authors of the report.

They call for a debate on a fairer redistribution of wealth, but without focusing on a "handful of hyper-rich" – because in this case "nothing will have been settled at all".

With AFP

The summary of the week France 24 invites you to look back on the news that marked the week

I subscribe

Take international news with you everywhere! Download the France 24 app