News Releases

Population and migration: 2012-2022 (including intercensal revisions)

Population and migration: 2012-2022 

 (including intercensal revisions)
NR 015/2024
Release Date: 26 January 2024

This news release presents the results of the intercensal benchmark revisions of population and migration statistics for the time-series 2012 to 2021. These estimates supersede the previous estimates for this series. Data for reference year 2022, which were estimated using the 2021 Census of Population and Housing as base, are also being included in this release. Annual counts of resident live births and resident deaths were not revised, however fertility and mortality indicators estimated over the population were revised, since the computation of these estimates depends on population counts which were directly affected by these revisions.

The population of Malta grew from 421,464 in 2012 to 542,051 in 2022. This equates to a 28.6 per cent growth in the population over the period.

people group shape map Malta

 

Population

The resident population of Malta grew from 421,464 in 2012 to 542,051 in 2022. This equates to a 28.6 per cent growth in the population over the period. The increase in the population size was attributed primarily to the growth in the foreign population. While the Maltese population only grew by 1.7 per cent from 398,099 to 404,675, the foreign population grew five-fold, rising from 23,365 in 2012 to 137,376 in 2022 (Chart 1).

Chart 1. End-of-year total population estimates

No Data Found

While the median population age in 2022 has remained at par with 2012, at 39 years, the share of children and older persons in the population has shifted. In 2012, the share of the population aged 65 and over stood at 17.1 per cent, this increased to 18.6 per cent in 2022. On the other hand, the share of children aged 14 or under decreased, from 14.6 per cent in 2012 to 12.7 per cent in 2022. In 2012, females slightly outnumbered males at 50.2 per cent compared to 49.8 per cent. In 2022, this pattern was reversed with males outnumbering females at 52.5 per cent compared to 47.5 per cent (Table 1a-1c, Chart 2a & Chart 2b).

Chart 2a. Total population by age group and sex as at 31 December 2012

Chart 2b. Total population by age group and sex as at 31 December 2022

Migration

Between 2012 and 2022 Malta experienced a total net migration (immigrants less emigrants) of 117,259 persons. The largest share of net migrants was seen in 2022, at 21,798, followed closely by 2019, with 21,225 net migrants. On the other hand, 2020 had the smallest net migration over the period, at 947 net migrants (Chart 3).

Chart 3. Annual total net migration

No Data Found

The share of the foreign population increased from 5.5 per cent in 2012, to 25.3 per cent in 2022. In 2022, 69 per cent of the foreign population were non-EU citizens, while the remaining 31 per cent were EU citizens. It is important to note that as of 2020, the non-EU group includes citizens of the United Kingdom (Table 7).

Geographical distribution

The Northern Harbour district remained the district with the greatest resident population. In 2022, 31.1 per cent of the total population were residents of this district. On the other hand, Gozo and Comino remained the district with the smallest resident population, with only 7.4 per cent of the total population resident in this district in 2022 (Chart 4).

Chart 4. End-of-year total population estimates by district of residence

No Data Found

Mdina remained the locality with the smallest population in 2022, with only 202 residents. While in 2012 Birkirkara was the locality with the largest population at 21,676 residents, in 2022 San Pawl il-Baħar overtook Birkirkara as the locality with the largest population at 35,419 residents, with the population in this locality more than doubling when compared to 2012. The share of resident foreigners increased within all localities when comparing 2022 to 2012. L-Imsida was the locality with the greatest share of foreign residents in 2022, equal to 59.1 percent of the resident population in this locality. This was followed by San Pawl il-Baħar at 58.1 per cent. On the other hand, Ħad-Dingli was the locality with the lowest share of foreigners at 2.7 per cent of the resident population (Table 8, Map 1a & Map 1b).

Map 1a. Share of foreigners in percentage by locality: 2012

Map 1b. Share of foreigners in percentage by locality: 2022

The growth in the population between 2012 and 2022 has resulted in an increase in population density. The population density for the Maltese Islands in 2012 stood at 1,337 resident population per km2, this increased to 1,721 per km2 in 2022. At the district level, the Northern Harbour district was the most densely populated district in 2022, at 7,019 resident population per km2. Conversely, Gozo and Comino was the least densely populated district at 585 resident population per km2. When considering individual localities, Għasri remained the least densely populated locality in Malta and Gozo, with a population density of 103 resident population per km2 in 2022. While in 2012 Senglea was the most densely populated locality, at 16,424 resident population per km2, in 2022 Tas-Sliema became the most densely populated locality at 16,287 resident population per km2 (Table 10, Map 2a & Map 2b).

Map 2a. Population density per km2 by locality: 2012

Map 2b. Population density per km2 by locality: 2022

Fertility and mortality indicators

The crude death rate has remained relatively stable between 2012 and 2022, with on average, 8 resident deaths annually per 1,000 resident mid-year population. On the other hand, the crude birth rate has experienced a general decline, from approximately 10 resident live births per 1,000 resident mid-year population in 2012, to 8 resident live births per 1,000 resident mid-year population in 2022 (Chart 5).

Chart 5. Crude birth and crude death rates per 1,000 mid-year resident population

No Data Found

As with the crude birth rate, the total fertility rate has also declined over the period. In 2012, the total fertility rate stood at 1.43, this fell to 1.08 in 2022 (Table 11). This decline is partly attributed to the fact that while the number of annual resident live births has remained relatively stable over the period, the number of females of reproductive age in the population has increased. 

Life expectancy has generally improved over the period. Total life expectancy at birth increased from 80.9 in 2012 to 82.3 years in 2022, while the total life expectancy at age 65 increased from 19.4 years in 2012 to 20.5 years in 2022. Females continue to have better life expectancy at birth and at age 65 when compared to males, though the gap has slightly narrowed when comparing 2012 to 2022 (Table 12).

This news release presents the results of the intercensal benchmark revisions of population and migration statistics for the time-series 2012 to 2021. These estimates supersede the previous estimates for this series. Data for reference year 2022, which were estimated using the 2021 Census of Population and Housing as base, are also being included in this release. Annual counts of resident live births and resident deaths were not revised, however fertility and mortality indicators estimated over the population were revised, since the computation of these estimates depends on population counts which were directly affected by these revisions.

Additional Tables and Charts

Methodological Notes

1. Intercensal revisions are standard practice in demography and are conducted to align official statistics on population and migration between the two decennial Censuses. The Census of Population and Housing is a form of national stocktaking which provides a complete count of the population and living quarters. The most recent Census of Population and Housing was conducted in November 2021. Benchmarking against the Censuses ensures a continuous series that is aligned to the changes between the two time-points.

2. The intercensal revisions adjust for possible errors in the annual estimation of population counts arising from over or under coverage in administrative data sources and inaccuracies in the mathematical models used to estimate components not available in the administrative sources.

3. The components of population change were examined and analysed as part of the revisions process. Annual counts of resident live births and resident deaths were not revised, however fertility and mortality indicators estimated over the population were revised, since the computation of these estimates depends on population counts which were directly affected by these revisions.

4. All population components are based on definitions provided for in the European Regulation (EU) No. 1260/2013 on European demographic statistics.

5. All migration components are based on definitions provided for in the European Regulation (EU) No. 862/2007 on Community statistics on migration and international protection.

6. Definitions:

Crude death rate: the number of total resident deaths per thousand mid-year population.

Crude birth rate: the number of total resident live births per thousand mid-year population.

Emigration: the action by which a natural person leaves his or her usual residence in the territory of the Member State for a period that is, or is expected to last, a minimum of 12 months. This figure is measured by summing up the counts of all employment termination forms which ended during the reference year and residence permit holders who fail to extend their permits during the reference year, together with their dependants; resettled or repatriated asylum seekers who were previously given protection and other Maltese emigrants (i.e. persons who leave the country for a period of at least 12 months).

Immigration: the action by which a natural person establishes his or her usual residence in a territory of a State for a period that is, or is expected to last, a minimum of 12 months. This figure is measured by summing up the count of all new employment engagement forms and residence permit holders, their dependants, asylum seekers granted protection, returned migrants and new adoptions of children from foreign countries.

Life expectancy: a population based statistical measure of the average number of years a person has before death. Life expectancies can be calculated for any age and give the further number of years a person can on average expect to live given the age they have attained during the reference year.

Mid-year population: Total mid-year population is calculated by averaging start-of-the-year and end-year population estimates.

Total fertility rate: The number of children that would be born to a female if she were to live to the end of her child-bearing years and bear children in accordance with current age-specific fertility rates.

Total population: all persons residing in Maltese Islands. The total population at the end of year t, is computed using the equation Pt = Pt-1 + Bt – Dt + It – Et , where:

i.  Pt is the total resident population at the end of year t,

ii.  Pt-1 is the total resident population at the end of year t-1,

iii. Bt is the total number of babies whose birth parent was resident in Malta during year t,

iv.  Dt is the total number of registered deaths of persons resident in Malta during year t,

v.  It is the total immigration of both Maltese and foreign nationals registered during year t who immigrated with the intention to live in Malta for a period of at least 12 months,

vi.  Et is the total emigration of both Maltese and foreign nationals resident in Malta registered during year t who leave the country for a period of at least 12 months.

Non-EU: any person who is not a citizen of the European Union. As of 2020, this includes citizens of the United Kingdom.

Usual residence: as stipulated by European Regulation (EU) No.1260/2013, refers to the place where a person normally spends the daily period of rest, regardless of temporary absences for purposes of recreation, holidays, visits to friends and relatives, business, medical treatment or religious pilgrimage. Usual residents of a specific geographical area are:

i.  those who have lived in their place of usual residence for a continuous period of at least 12 months before the reference time; or 

ii. those who arrived in their place of usual residence during the 12 months before the reference time with the intention of staying there for at least one year.

Usually resident population: refers to all persons who have their usual residence in a Member State at the reference time.

7. Sources:

● Demographic data in this release is based on records held by the Public Registry and the Directorate of Health Information and Research.

Migration data is estimated based on a number of administrative records. These registers are not designed for direct compilation of population statistics in line with the required definitions, therefore complex estimation techniques are used to derive meaningful population statistics from these sources.  Moreover, when no appropriate sources are available, auxiliary sources like surveys are used to address data gaps.  A list of relevant data sources is provided below:

Entity Data flows Data records
National Statistics Office (NSO) Immigration of Maltese citizens Decennial Census of Population and Housing
Ongoing frontier survey: TOURSTAT
Emigration of Maltese citizens Ongoing frontier survey: TOURSTAT
Jobsplus Migration flows of European Union and United Kingdom citizens Employment engagement and termination forms
International Protection Agency Migration flows of non-European Union citizens excluding the United Kingdom. Asylum records
Third-Country Nationals Unit Resettlements and repatriations
Identita' Residence permits database
Public Registry Foreign adoptions

8. Geographical information

Districts (Local Administrative Unit (LAU1)

District 1. Southern Harbour: Valletta, Il-Birgu, L-Isla, Bormla, Ħaż‐Żabbar, Il-Fgura, Floriana, Il-Kalkara, Ħal Luqa, Il-Marsa, Raħal Ġdid, Santa Luċija, Ħal Tarxien, Ix-Xgħajra

District 2. Northern Harbour: Ħal Qormi, Birkirkara, Il-Gżira, Il-Ħamrun, L-Imsida, Pembroke, Tal‐Pietà, San Ġiljan, San Ġwann, Santa Venera, Tas‐Sliema, Is-Swieqi, Ta’ Xbiex

District 3. South East: Iż-Żejtun, Birżebbuġa, Il-Gudja, Ħal Għaxaq, Ħal Kirkop, Marsaskala, Marsaxlokk, L-Imqabba, Il-Qrendi, Ħal Safi, Iż-Żurrieq

District 4. West: L-Imdina, Ħaż‐Żebbuġ, Is-Siġġiewi, Ħ’Attard, Ħal Balzan, Ħad‐Dingli, L-Iklin, Ħal Lija, Ir-Rabat, L-Imtarfa

District 5. North: Ħal Għargħur, Il-Mellieħa, L-Imġarr, Il-Mosta, In-Naxxar, San Pawl il-Baħar

District 6. Gozo and Comino: Ir-Rabat-Għawdex, Il-Fontana, Għajnsielem u Comino, L-Għarb, L-Għasri, Ta’ Kerċem, Il-Munxar, In-Nadur, Il-Qala, San Lawrenz, Ta’ Sannat, Ix-Xagħra, Ix-Xewkija, Iż-Żebbuġ

More details can be found on the NSO metadata webpage.

● The European Union prior to 2013, includes Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The European Union from 2013 to 2019 includes Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The European Union from 2020 includes Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, and Sweden.

9. Timely population estimates are published in order to meet user needs. These estimates are subject to further quality assurance processes and may be subject to revision in subsequent demographic publications.

10.  More information relating to this news release may be accessed at:

Statistical concepts
Metadata (Demography)
Metadata (Migration)

11. A detailed news release calendar is available online.

12. References to this news release are to be cited appropriately. For guidance on access and re-use of data please visit our dedicated webpage.

13. For further assistance send your request through our online request form.

Population and migration: 2012-2022 (including intercensal revisions)

Population and migration: 2012-2022 

 (including intercensal revisions)
NR 015/2024
Release Date: 26 January 2024

This news release presents the results of the intercensal benchmark revisions of population and migration statistics for the time-series 2012 to 2021. These estimates supersede the previous estimates for this series. Data for reference year 2022, which were estimated using the 2021 Census of Population and Housing as base, are also being included in this release. Annual counts of resident live births and resident deaths were not revised, however fertility and mortality indicators estimated over the population were revised, since the computation of these estimates depends on population counts which were directly affected by these revisions.

people group shape map Malta
  • From 2012 to 2022, the resident population of Malta grew 28.6 per cent, from 421,464 to 542, 051. The increase in population was attributed primarily to the growth in the foreign population.
  • The share of foreign nationals increased from 5.5 per cent in 2012, to 25.3 per cent in 2022.
  • In 2022, males outnumbered females at 52.5 per cent compared to 47.5 per cent.
  • San Pawl il-Baħar overtook Birkirkara as the locality with the largest population at 35,419 residents, while Tas-Sliema was the densest. Mdina remained the locality with the smallest population.
  • The crude death rate has remained relatively stable between 2012 and 2022, with on average, 8 resident deaths annually per 1,000 resident mid-year population.  On the other hand, the crude birth rate has experienced a general decline from approximately 10 resident live births per 1,000 resident mid-year population in 2012, to 8 in 2022.
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