The municipality traces its history to Lycksele parish, which was in effect during the 19th century with very similar borders and size (5,000-5,500 km²). The whole rural municipality Lycksele became a market town (köping) in 1929 and city in 1946. In 1971 it was amalgamated with Örträsk Municipality.
Generally the northern municipalities, already sparsely populated, have population decreases, but various supporting projects also exist. For instance, a campus of Umeå University is situated here.
There is an airport just south of Lycksele, from which one can reach Stockholm in about 80 minutes.
Previously, the railroad between Umeå and Storuman was the main means of transportation, but its significance has diminished and passenger traffic has been discontinued. There are now daily buses to towns like Umeå, Storuman, Tärnaby and Mo i Rana in Norway. As of August 2011, a new daily railroad route has been opened between Lycksele and Umeå.