A small, but open society Find out more about the composition of Luxembourg's population

Today, Luxembourg has a population of 626,000 people. Albeit small, it boasts an incredible diversity. In fact, almost 50% of the population doesn't have Luxembourgish nationality! And this does not even take into account the 185,000 cross-border employees 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.

Key figures

On 1st January 2020, 626,000 people lived in Luxembourg, which has a total area of 2,586 km2. an average of 230 inhabitants per km2. This means that it's one of the most densely populated regions of Europe (EU: 118).

Around 185,000 cross-border employees commute to Luxembourg from France, Germany and Belgium to work and contribute to the country's economy. 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 always be able to find someone to help you in your language – long live multilingualism!

Around 50% of the population are women or girls. The life expectancy for boys born in 2019 was 80 years and 84.5 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, 48% – almost half – of the population is made up foreigners. 170 nationalities have been recorded across the country.

Here is a list of Luxembourg's 5 largest foreign communities, as a percentage of the total population:

Portuguese

15.6%

French

7.6%

Italian

3.7%

Belgian

3.3%

German

2.1%

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 2017, 9,030 foreigners decided to accept Luxembourgish nationality.

© Cour grand-ducale / Guy Wolff

From an emigration country to a welcoming land

How did we get to there? For a long time, Luxembourg saw 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 made the tide 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, followed by Italians and Portuguese people settled in Luxembourg to work in the country's steel mills. The population increased thanks to migrant workers in three waves, one in the 1900's, one in the 1920s and one in the 1960's.

In the second half of the 20th century, the service sector developed, 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 Luxembourg for work.

As the years went by, these communities integrated into Luxembourg's population, even if they kept some of their customs and languages.