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Population and Demography

From an emigration country to a popular destination for migrant workers

In the 19th century, when Luxembourg was a poor agricultural State, one third of the population (about 72,000 people) emigrated to France and the United States. Since the beginning of industrialisation 1870, the Grand Duchy turned from an emigration country to a popular destination for immigrants and has experienced strong population growth since. In 1910, Luxembourg recorded 260,000 inhabitants. In January 2013, the population had risen to 539,039, having more than doubled in the space of little over a century.

This growth can be divided into four major periods:

  • a decline in the first four decades of the 20th century,
  • a moderate baby boom in the 1950s and 1960s,
  • a very rapid decline in the 1970s
  • an upsurge in growth since the 1990s due to an increase in the birth rate, linked notably to a rise in immigration.

According to the UN Development Programme’s 2009 Human Development Report, the country experienced the 11th-highest human development index out of 177 ranked countries.


A plural society

Nearly half of the country’s population currently consists of non-Luxembourg citizens. Foreign residents represent 44,5% of the total population,
 with approximately 86% of foreign residents being EU nationals. The
strongest represented communities are the Portuguese (16.4% of the total
 population) and French (6.6%), followed by Italians (3.4%) and Belgians (3.3%). With a total of 150 nationalities represented, Luxembourg is a truly plural society.


Structural changes in society

Luxembourg’s population is increasing steadily.

In 2010, the birth rate was 1.63 children per woman and the average age of mothers giving birth was 31.2 years. The total number of births has risen to 5,874 with slight fluctuations since 2000. Births to foreign residents have accounted for more than 50% of total births in Luxembourg since 2003.

At the beginning of 2011, the average age of people living in Luxembourg was 39 years. 17.6% of the population of the Grand Duchy are younger than 14. People in the 15-64 age bracket represent 68.5% of the population and individuals aged 65 and over account for 13.9%.