Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques

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The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (French: Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques), abbreviated INSEE (French pronunciation: ​[inse]), is the French national statistics bureau. It collects and publishes information about the French economy and people, and carries out the periodic national census. Headquartered in Paris, it is the French branch of Eurostat. The INSEE was created in 1946 as a successor to the Vichy regime's National Statistics Service (SNS).


INSEE is responsible for the production and analysis of official statistics in France. Its best known responsibilities include:

  • Organising and publishing the national census.
  • Producing various indices – which are widely recognised as being of excellent quality – including an inflation index used for determining the rates of rents and the costs associated with construction.
  • Eurostat uses INSEE statistics in combination with those of other national statistical agencies to compile comparable statistics for the EU as a whole. It is also widely recognized as representing France on international questions of statistics.


INSEE is the responsibility of MINEFI, the French Ministry of Finance. The current director is Jean-Luc Tavernier. However, Eurostat considers INSEE as an independent body, although its independence is not written in the law.[1]

Teaching and research

Research and teaching for INSEE is undertake by GENES, or Group of the National Schools of the Economy and Statistics (French: Groupe des Écoles Nationales d'Économie et Statistique) which includes:

  • ENSAE (L'École nationale de la statistique et de l'administration économique), a grande école which trains INSEE administrators and engineers specialized in statistics, the economy, and finance.
  • ENSAI, (L'École nationale de la statistique et de l'analyse de l'information), an engineering school.

Codes and numbering system

INSEE gives numerical indexing codes (French: les Codes INSEE) to various entities in France:

  • INSEE numbers (13 digits + a two-digit key) are national identification numbers given to people. The format is as follows: syymmlllllooo kk, where
    • s is 1 for a male, 2 for a female for a permanent number; it is 7 for a male, 8 for a female for a temporary number,
    • yy are the last two digits of the year of birth,
    • mm is the month of birth or a number above 20 if the birthdate is unknown
    • lllll is the COG for the location of birth,
    • ooo is an order number to distinguish people being born at the same place in the same year and month.
    • 'kk' is the "control key", equal to 97-(the rest of the number modulo 97).
      There are exceptions for people in particular situations.[2]
  • SIREN codes are given to businesses and nonprofit associations, SIRET codes to their establishments and facilities.[3]


Statistics in France before INSEE

INSEE was preceded by several related statistical agencies in France. In 1833, the Statistics Bureau (French: Bureau de la statistique) was created by Adolphe Thiers. In 1840 it was renamed SGF or General Statistics of France.[4]

Under the direction of Lucien March, the SGF expanded its activities. It began an investigation of consumption habits in 1907, following with periodic investigations on retail prices in 1911.

In 1920 Alfred Sauvy introduced competitive entrance exams for SGF recruitment. However, it was René Carmille, a pioneer of the use of the calculators, who laid the foundations of the modern organization. In 1940, the Demographic Service (Service de la démographie) was created under the Ministry of Finance in order to replace the military recruitment office prohibited by the June 1940 Armistice with Nazi Germany. In order to better conceal its undertakings, the Demographic Service absorbed the SGF on 11 October 1941. The new organization was called the SNS or National Statistics Service.[5] As part of this reorganization, six new offices were created in the Northern (occupied) zone whose regional structure is maintained today in INSEE.

René Carmille created an Applied Sciences School (predecessor of the current ENSAE) to specially train members for the SNS.

Carmille worked for Vichy France but he was actually a double agent for the French underground. From his position in the SNS he sabotaged the Nazi census of France, which saved untold numbers of Jewish people from death camps. He also used his department to help mobilize French resistance in Algeria. He was caught by the Nazis and sent to Dachau where he died in 1945.[6]

Creation of INSEE

The SNS was finally transformed into INSEE by the law of 27 April 1946, The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Surveys for the metropolis and overseas France (L'Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques pour la métropole et la France d'outre-mer).

List of directors

This is a list of directors of INSEE since its founding:

  • Francis-Louis Closon 1946–1961
  • Claude Gruson 1961–1967
  • Jean Ripert 1967–1974
  • Edmond Malinvaud 1974–1987
  • Jean-Claude Milleron 1987–1992
  • Paul Champsaur 1992–2003
  • Jean-Michel Charpin 2003–2007
  • Jean-Philippe Cotis 2007–2012
  • Jean-Luc Tavernier 2012–

See also


  1., Eurostat report
  3., SIRENE database
  4. French: Statistique Générale de la France
  5. French: Service National des Statistiques
  6. IBM and the Holocaust, Edwin Black, 2001, Crown , p 320-332,

External links