Gwendoline VOLAT
February 2016
12 p.

Since the late 1970s when the French-government-run authors' social security agency AGESSA was set up, 11,800 writers have been affiliated with it at least once. In 2013, it had 5,300 affiliates, 3.4 times more than the figure 30 years earlier, a rise which is indicative of the overall growth of the cultural professions. In 2013, the authors category included 47% writers, 31% illustrators and 22% translators. The latter two groups have grown particularly since the late 1990s. Women form a growing proportion of its affiliates and now represent half of all authors.

Over the last fifteen years, people have been joining the ranks of authors increasingly later in life, with the median age of first affiliation rising: age 39 in 2013 as compared with 34 in 1980. Nevertheless, people now are being affiliated for longer, increasing from an average of nine years for those affiliated between 1985 and 1989, to twelve years for those affiliated between 1995 and 1999.

The average age of the population of authors of written material has risen over the last 30 years, a phenomenon common to all author categories: over half of affiliate authors were aged over 45 in 2013, whereas the 18-29 age group form just 4% of this group. Whilst authors' income increases the longer they are members, reaching a median of 25,000 euros (before tax) after fifteen years of affiliation, we see that authors affiliated since the 2000s have falling revenue prospects. The younger generations of authors show lower income levels to those of their older counterparts at the same point in their career, as compared over equal affiliation periods. Consequently, young authors are increasingly unable to make a living purely from their creative careers and are thus relying on other sources of income. These results indicate the need for an increased focus on young creatives to ensure the ongoing renewal of this profession in an unfavourable economic climate.