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Synthesis 2012 > France

France 2012

In France, concerns are particularly high despite a safety net that is perceived as effective

The French are amongst the Europeans who feel most exposed to life’s risks, regardless of their nature:

  • 65% of all French people believe that they are likely to be involved in a traffic accident(compared with 51% of Europeans as a whole);
  • 54% believe it likely that they will be the victims of assault or theft (compared with 40% overall).

The vast majority of all French people nevertheless feel much better protected than do Europeans as a whole:

  • 63% of all French people believe they are protected just as well or even better than before the crisis (compared with 53% for Europeans as a whole);
  • the French feel they are covered (through insurance or government schemes) for seven of the 17 risks tested in the survey (compared with an average of 4 out of 17 risks in other countries).

Although they feel better protected against risks than other Europeans, the French are just as concerned about all existing risks as Europeans, on average, in other countries.

The French approach to risk: somewhere between repulsion and fascination

The French are amongst the most “riskophobic” people in Europe:

  • 62% believe that risk is essentially a danger to be avoided (compared with 51% overall);
  • 79% think of the word “danger” when the subject of risk is mentioned (compared with 70% overall) and 43% associate risk with “fear” (compared with 33% overall);
  • Only 58% of French people admit to taking risks in their life (compared with 70% overall).

Yet the French are amongst the greatest proponents of risk-taking when various specific situations are mentioned:

  • 86% have a positive view towards a man who takes a risk (compared with 82% of all Europeans);
  • 50% have a positive view when the father of a family takes risks (compared with 43% of all Europeans), and 38% feel that way about a female head of household (compared with 34% for all Europeans).

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