Réunion in the 1960s and 1970s: A Population Policy Against the Current?


Réunion has been a French Overseas Territory since 1946. It is located in the south-western Indian Ocean near Madagascar and Mauritius. Because of its history, the contemporary demographic dynamics of Réunion Island is in no way comparable to metropolitan France. The first objective of this paper is to trace the population policy in Réunion since the 1950s, mainly in the areas of migration and birth rate. We shall see that this policy evolves over time, but in form rather than substance. The second objective of this paper is to examine whether in the long term we can truly speak of population policy in Réunion. The third objective is to analyze the interrelationships between demographic measures taken in Réunion and the broader goals of the French state. This may be an item for reflection in a context of globalization where there is considerable mobility and national population policies are increasingly linked to other countries.