An open and cosmopolitan society Find out more about the composition of Luxembourg's population
Today, Luxembourg has a population of 645.000 people with an incredible diversity. In fact, almost 50% of the population doesn't have Luxembourgish nationality! And this does not even take into account the 197.000 cross-border commuters who work in Luxembourg. This mix of languages and cultures from all these communities is rewarding for life in Luxembourg and gives it a cosmopolitan characteristic.
On 1st January 2022, 645.397 people lived in Luxembourg, which has a total area of 2,586 km2. an average of 249 inhabitants per km2. This means that it's one of the most densely populated regions of Europe (EU: 118). In the Grand Duchy, the city of Luxembourg (128,494 inhabitants) and the town of Esch-sur-Alzette (36,177 inhabitants) are the most populous. Are you looking for a more rural and peaceful setting away from urban centres? The municipalities of Saeul, Wahl, Putscheid and Grosbous in the west and north of the country are the least populated.
In 2021, the total population increased by 10,697 people. This included 6,801 people who obtained Luxembourg nationality through nationalisation and optional or re-acquisition procedures.
Life expectancy at birth is 80.3 years for boys and 84.8 for girls.
Nationalities in Luxembourg
Take a stroll in any street of a Luxembourgish town or city and you will hear it: Luxembourg hosts large foreign communities, including descendants of 19th and 20th century migrants, expats, and people who decided to stay when they visited Luxembourg. Overall, 47,1% – almost half – of the population is made up foreigners. 170 nationalities have been currently recorded across the country. Foreigners account for 70.6% of Luxembourg city's population.
Moreover, each working day around 197,000 cross-border commuters journey to Luxembourg from France, Germany and Belgium to work and contribute to the country's wealth. It therefore does not come as a surprise that people order their lunch in French or contact a company in German.
And if you don't speak one of these languages, you will almost be able to find someone to help you in your language... long live multilingualism!
Here is a list of Luxembourg's 5 largest foreign communities in Luxembourg, as a percentage of the total population:
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In terms of the proportion of foreigners in the population, the city of Luxembourg has the highest number of foreigners with 70.8%, followed by Strassen (62.3%) and Larochette (58.3%). The communes of Wahl (20.4%), Useldange (21.3%), Reckange-sur-Mess (21.7%) and Goesdorf (21.7%) have the lowest proportion of foreigners.
In 2021, 6,801 people gained Luxembourgish nationality , through naturalisation, option or re-acquisition.
From an emigration country to a land of opportunity
How did we get to this point? For a long time, Luxembourg witnessed waves of emigration. Some of its population left their land and homes in waves to Romania, the United States and Brazil, before the economic boom triggered by the steel industry caused the tide to turn.
Entire families and sometimes entire villages left the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in the hope of finding a better life. Thus, there were 16,000 Luxembourgish emigrants living in Chicago in 1908! Some became famous in their new homeland, such as Hugo Gernsback (1884-1967), who coined the term 'science fiction', or Edward Steichen, a painter and famous photographer, who became Director of the Department of Photography in the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).
From the second half of the 19th century, Germans settled in Luxembourg to work in the country's steel mills, followed by the Italians in the 20th century. In the 1960s, thousands of Portuguese fled the dictatorship and poverty and moved to Luxembourg.
In the second half of the 20th century, the service sector grew, especially the finance sector. This new economic boom was linked to the growth of French, Belgian and German communities in Luxembourg, but Luxembourg also attracted a large number of nationals from the British Isles and Scandinavian countries, who settled in the Grand-Duchy to work.
As the years went by, these communities integrated into Luxembourg's population, even if they kept some of their customs and languages.