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© Direction de la Communication - Michael Alesi

With nearly 140 nationalities concentrated into an area of two square kilometres, Monaco has one of the most cosmopolitan populations on Earth.

Monaco, the second smallest country in the world after the Vatican, is a genuine Tower of Babel. Today, Monegasque residents are drawn from nearly 140 countries. The French, Italians, British, Swiss and Belgians make up the top five groups of foreign nationals in terms of numbers. Foreign residents account for three quarters of the Principality’s total population – there are 38,000 of them, compared with less than 9,000 Monegasque nationals.

Historically, it was the founding of Monte-Carlo and the arrival of the railway in the Principality in the second half of the nineteenth century that brought such internationalisation to Monaco.

During that era, Prince Charles III put his faith in aristocratic tourism and decided to build a holiday and recreational resort for the European nobility and upper classes in Monte-Carlo (Mount Charles).

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The country then underwent a period of rapid urban development around the casino and the major hotels.

The population grew (19,000 inhabitants in 1910 compared with 1,200 in 1861), and its society became increasingly cosmopolitan with the arrival of European elites as well as workers from Piedmont.

The first census of the Monegasque population was conducted in 1757, and the exercise has been regularly repeated since the end of the nineteenth century to track demographic trends and changes in the Principality’s population. The most recent census, in 2016, was organised by Monaco City Hall with technical support from Monaco Statistics.

It found that Monaco has more women than men (19,068 women and 18,240 men), that the biggest age groups are those aged 45–54 years and those aged 0–16 years, and that Monte-Carlo is the most populous district, with 22% of residents.

© Direction de la Communication - Michael Alesi
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