Île-de-France is one of the
twenty-six administrative regions of France, composed mostly
of the Paris metropolitan area. Its name literally means
"Island of France", maybe from ancient Frankish Liddle
Franke, "little France".
Created as the "District of the Paris Region" in 1961; it was renamed after the historic province of "Isle de France" in 1976, when its administrative status was aligned with the other French administrative regions created in 1972. 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 80s and successfully used today. Ninety percent of its territory is covered by the Paris aire urbaine (or "metropolitan area") which extends beyond its borders in places.
With 11.7 million inhabitants, Île-de-France is the most populated region of France. It has more residents than Austria, Belgium, Greece, Portugal or Sweden, and a comparable population to the US state of Ohio or the Canadian province of Ontario. It is the fourth most populous country subdivision in the European Union after England (of the UK), North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria (both of Germany).
Economically, Île-de-France is the one of the richest regions in the European Union: in 2007 its total GDP as calculated by Eurostat was €462 billion at market exchange rates, with a per capita GDP of € 40,100 [ranked 6th in the EU, behind Prague (Czech republic) but ahead of Oberbayern (Germany)] the same year (at market exchange rates, 170% of the European Union average).