Ile de France

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Ile-de-France (literally Island of France) is the wealthiest and most populated of the twenty-seven administrative regions of France. It consists mostly of the Paris metropolitan area. With 11.7 million inhabitants, Île-de-France is not only the most populated region of France, but also has more residents than Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Finland, Greece, Portugal, or Sweden, and has a population comparable to that of the U.S. state of Ohio or to that of the Canadian province of Ontario. It is the fourth most populous country subdivision in the European Union, after England, North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria. Economically, Île-de-France is the world's fourth-largest and Europe's wealthiest and largest regional economy: in 2009, its total GDP as calculated by Eurostat was €552 billion (US$768.9 billion) at market exchange rates. It is the wealthiest metropolitan area in the European Union, and if it were a country, it would rank as the 15th wealthiest in the world. Île-de-France is also the world's second most important location for Fortune Global 500 companies' headquarters (after the Kantō region). Created as district de la région de Paris ("the District of the Paris Region") in 1961, it was renamed after the historic province of Île-de-France in 1976, when its administrative status was aligned with the other French administrative regions created in 1972. Its name literally means "Island of France", possibly from ancient Frankish Liddle Franke, "little France". Despite the name change, Île-de-France is still popularly referred to by French people as the région Parisienne (the "Paris region") or RP. However, its inhabitants are more and more referred to as "franciliens", an adjective created in the 1980s. Ninety percent of its territory is covered by the Paris aire urbaine ("metropolitan area") which extends beyond its borders in places.
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