May 25, 2023

Agglomerations help towns outpace metropolitan cities: Grand Paris

In agglomerations the growth of small cities outpaces the growth of megapolises.

Our analysis shows that establishing agglomerations can be very profitable for small cities and their residents. In agglomerations the growth of small cities outpaces the growth of megapolises. A shining example is comparison of development of Paris and the other communes of Grand Paris (Métropole du Grand Paris). The pandemic and the post-pandemic period strengthened this tendency even more:

- over the last 10 years (2013 – 2023) the population of small towns and communes of Greater Paris (excluding Paris) grew from 4.69 million to 5.09 million (+8.5%, +0.4 million people). The population of Paris has decreased by 200 thousand people (from 2.29 million to 2.102 million, (- 8%). The overall growth of the métropole was 3% (200 thousand, from 6.98 million [2013] to 7.2 million [2023].

- the economy of the small towns of Greater Paris also grew faster, for example the number of jobs (excluding Paris) increased by 250 thousand (from 2.1 million [2013] to 2.35 million [2023], + 10.6%), and only 50 thousand jobs appeared in Paris itself (1.8 million [2013] – 1.85 million [2023], +8%). The total increase for the agglomeration is 300,000 new jobs.

- the number of establishments (businesses) created per year in the communes in the surrounding communes (excluding Paris) doubled - from 56 thousand to 113 thousand (+99%). In comparison in Paris the number of enterprises created per year, increased from 55 thousand to 89 thousand (+61%)

In our opinion, the increase in the speed of business development and the creation of new jobs is due not only to the implementation of transport accessibility projects, but also to lower costs for businesses to pay employees. According to CDP calculations based on INSEE statistics, the average hourly wage in the smaller cities of Greater Paris is about 30% lower than in Paris itself.

On the contrary the small towns receive such a large bonus of economic development, that they ultimately increase the level and quality of residents life.


Métropole du Grand Paris was established on 1 January 2016; it comprises 131 communes, including Paris and all 123 communes in the surrounding inner-suburban departments. The agglomeration was established to synchronise metropolitan action, to improve the quality of life of residents, to reduce inequalities between regions within it, to develop an urban, social and economic sustainability model, to improve attractiveness and competitiveness.

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