The Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2005URL (Internet address) : http://www.eu2005.lu/en/savoir_lux/societe_tradition/societe_multicult/
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One Country, a Hundred Nationalities
The demographic evolution Luxembourg knew during the last century is exceptional. From 200.000 in 1900, the population passed to 451.600 people today, which corresponds to an increase of more than 100%.
Nearly 39% of this population is of foreign origin. This percentage, which corresponds to a figure of 174.200 foreign residents, exceeds even 50% in the capital of the Grand Duchy.
At first, it was mostly the steel industry and the construction sector which attracted a great deal of Italian and Portuguese immigrants. Nowadays the immigration is mainly French, Belgian or British. According to the last figures, more than 150 different nationalities create the demographic richness of the Grand Duchy: a community of ethnic groups that is remarkable.
Of these numerous communities, the ones present since several generations are Portuguese (63.760), French (21.880), Italian (18.890), Belgian (16.040) and German (10.320).
Amongst the methods by which Luxembourg managed the integration of such a high percentage of people from diverse origins, mixed marriages seem very important. One couple out of four is thus mixed and 30% of the people in possession of a Luxembourgian passport have at least one direct ascendant of foreign origin.
Obviously, the demographic situation of the Grand Duchy is reflected on the national work-market. The foreign workers constitute thus more than 60% of the working population. This percentage results from the immigration rate on one side and is reinforced by workers from abroad.
As a matter of fact, during the seventies, the explosion of the financial market in conjunction with acute unemployment in the bordering areas resulted in a daily immigration of people living near the border of the Grand-Duchy.
Whereas these people represented only 30.000 workers in 1990, one counts currently more than 100.000 on a total of approximately 275.000 employees in Luxembourg. This working population constitutes more than 38% of all the wage-earners of the Grand Duchy and even 52% in the capital. The majority of them (53%) live in France, 27,3% in Belgium and 19,7% in Germany.
These figures make of Luxembourg an astonishing country where, in spite of a strong proportion of people from foreign origin, one knows nearly no intercultural tensions.