Malta consists of three large islands and several uninhabited cliffs. The country has a long colonial history thanks to its strategic position in the Mediterranean. The small island community has traditionally been very conservative and is still strongly influenced by the Catholic Church.
Key figures and facts
- Capital: Valletta
- Ethnic groups: Maltese (descendants of Carthaginians and Phoenicians with elements of Italians and other Mediterranean people)
- Language: Maltese (official) 90.1%, English (official) 6%, multilingual 3%, other 0.9% (2005)
- Religion: Roman Catholic (official) over 90% (2006)
- Population: 432 089 (2018)
- Control Form: Republic
- Area: 320 km2
- Currency: euro
- GNP per capita: 37 928 PPP $
Malta has 483,530 residents (2018). Most of them on the main island of Malta. On the islands of Gozo and Comino there are 37 342 and three persons respectively. Life expectancy at birth is 84.8 for women and 80.6 for men. The birth and death rates per 1000 residents are 10 and 7.3 respectively. The birth rate per woman is 1.48 children (2018).
94.7 percent of the population lives in urban areas (2019). More than half of the population lives on the eastern part of the island of Malta. In the capital Valletta itself there are more than 6000 residents. In the metropolitan area of Valletta, there are 355,000 people (2018).
The residents are descended from Arabs, Italians and other Mediterranean people. Between 1842 and 1956, 70,000 people emigrated, especially to Tunisia, Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada, but many emigrants have returned to Malta since 1975.
Boat refugees to Malta
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 19,000 boat refugees arrived in Malta from 2002 to 2017. 70 percent of these refugees have been relocated to other European countries. From January 1 to October 1, 2019, 2804 boat refugees arrived in Malta against 1445 throughout 2018. In 2018, 43 percent of boat refugees came from Sudan, seven percent from Eritrea and five percent from Nigeria.
Of the population, 94.4 percent belong to the Catholic Church.
Maltese and English are official languages. Maltese, spoken by 90.1 percent of the population, is an Arabic dialect. The language is closely related to the Arabic dialects in North Africa.