Luxembourgish Americans

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Luxembourger Americans
Total population
47,129 (2019)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Illinois · Wisconsin · Michigan • Minnesota · Iowa · California · South Dakota · Ohio · Pennsylvania · New York · Florida · Indiana · Kansas · Missouri
American English · Luxembourgish · German · French · Yiddish · Hebrew
Roman Catholicism · Judaism · Lutheranism
Related ethnic groups
German Americans · Belgian Americans · French Americans · Swiss Americans

Luxembourger Americans are Americans of Luxembourgish ancestry. According to the United States' 2000 census, there were 45,139 Americans of full or partial Luxembourgish descent.[2] In 1940, the number of Americans with Luxembourgish ancestry was around 100,000.[3]

The first families from Luxembourg arrived in the United States, around 1842, fleeing of the overpopulation and economic change in the newly independent country. They worked in the field, as was traditional in their country.[4]

Luxembourger Americans are overwhelmingly concentrated in the Midwest, where most originally settled in the 19th century. In the 2000 census, the states with the largest self-reported Luxembourger American populations were Illinois (6,963), Wisconsin (6,580), Minnesota (5,867), Iowa (5,624), and California (2,824).[5]


A Luxembourger American couple from Wormeldange, Luxembourg, photographed in Minnesota circa 1890.

Between the mid-19th century and the early 20th century, approximately one-third of the Luxembourgish population emigrated. Luxembourg was, at the time, a poor country with an economy dominated by agriculture.[6] The United States was a popular destination for Luxembourgers, as it was for many other European emigrants of the period. The number of Luxembourgers who emigrated to the US in the 19th century is thought to be around 60,000–70,000.[citation needed]

Emigrants leaving for the United States in the German port of Hamburg, 1874

Substantial Luxembourger emigration to America took off from about 1845, for several reasons. Advances in medicine caused the rate of infant mortality to decline. This resulted in overpopulation. The lack of work in industry led many to despair. The country could no longer feed its population. In the large families of the time, the dividing up of inheritances led to fragmentation of land ownership. The portion of each child was reduced to a few hectares, which was barely enough to feed a family. Selling one's portion to the elder brother, however, provided enough money for the other siblings to pay for the voyage to America and to start a new life there.[citation needed]

Traveling was becoming easier in this period as well. Previously, it had taken as long to go from Luxembourg to Paris as from there to America. After a while, the news came to Europe that there was much unused land available in America. The Homestead Act offered fertile land for low prices. Many therefore took the step of attempting a new start, since staying in one's home country would mean death by starvation.[7]

Luxembourgers arriving in the United States would not necessarily be registered as such by the authorities, but instead as Belgians or Germans. After arriving in New York, Luxembourgers tended to move on to Chicago, as well as Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. A small number stayed in New York.[citation needed]

In 1871, just after the Great Chicago Fire parishioners of St. Michael's Church in Chicago formed the first Luxembourger American organization in the United States, the Luxemburger Unterstützungsverein (Luxembourg Mutual Aid Society).[8] Other organizations followed including the Luxembourg Bruderbund and the Luxembourg American Cultural Society.

Notable people[edit]

The Pond—Moonlight by Edward Steichen, one of the most expensive photographs ever sold

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Table B04006, People Reporting Ancestry, 2019 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, United States Census Bureau
  2. ^ "QT-P13. Ancestry: Census 2000 Summary File 3 (SF 3) – Sample Data". United States Census Bureau. 2000. Archived from the original on 10 February 2020. Retrieved 29 July 2006.
  3. ^ "De L'état à la nation 1839–1989" Imprimeries St. Paul. p. 145.
  4. ^ Encyclopedia of Chicago: Luxembourgers. Posted by Kathleen Neils Conzen.
  5. ^ "US population by ancestry and state". United States Census Bureau. 2000. Retrieved 29 July 2006.
  6. ^ ""Luxembourg-USA – A Story of Migration" Begegnung mit der Vergangenheit" (PDF) (in German). Luxemburger Wort. 2 July 2007. p. 25. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  7. ^ "Migration in Luxemburg" (PDF) (in German). p. 72. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 October 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  8. ^ "Luxembourg's history: Luxembourgish immigration to Chicago". (in Luxembourgish). Retrieved 2023-03-03.

External links[edit]