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Census of Population and Housing 2021: Final Report: Population, migration and other social characteristics (Volume 1)

Date Published: 16th February 2023

The Census of Population and Housing is a detailed statistical exercise featuring Malta and its people by their demographic and social characteristics. It provides a portrait at a point in time, and for the 18th Census, this was 21 November 2021. The Census’s legal basis is the national Census Act 1948 and the supranational EU Regulation No 763/2008.

Compilation work went into the early months of 2022 and the Preliminary Report was published in Summer 2022. Following this, the NSO is publishing the first in a series of thematic Census publications. It covers a range of social subjects such as population, migration, citizenship, racial origin, and religious affiliation. This introduction synthesises the main findings under these headings.


Salient Points of Publication:
  • On Census Day, 21 November 2021, the final usual resident population in Malta stood at 519,562, more than doubling over a century, and growing by more than 100,000 over the past 10 years.
  • Malta remains the most densely populated country in the EU with 1,649 residents per square kilometre.
  • For the first time ever, the 2021 Census recorded more males than females within the Maltese population.  There were 270,021 men (52 per cent of the population) and 249,541 women in Malta, resulting in a sex ratio of 924 females per 1,000 males.
  • The average age of the population was 41.7 years, and Gozitan residents were slightly older than the Maltese with average ages of 43.8 years and 41.5 years respectively
  • More than one in five residents were foreign, with 115,449 non-Maltese persons residing in Malta on Census Day – an increase of more than five times in the share of foreigners since 2011.
  • Just less than 90 per cent of residents were Caucasian, and a further 5.2 per cent were Asian.  A total of 6,101 persons (1.2 per cent) had more than one racial origin. 
  • A total of 14,822 persons immigrated to Malta in the year prior to the Census – more than three times the figure reported in 2011.  More than half of these immigrants were non-EU citizens (including British) and 4,765 were citizens from countries outside of Europe.
  • The majority of the population aged 1 year and over did not internally migrate in the year prior to the Census (93.5 per cent), while 18,558 persons changed their residence.
  • When asked about their religious affiliation, a total of 373,304 residents aged 15 and over (or 82.6 per cent) identified themselves as Roman Catholic.
  • A total of 17,454 persons reported that they belong to Islam, followed by 16,457 persons who identified themselves with the Orthodox religion.  Another 23,243 stated that they did not have any religious affiliation.

 Final Report: Volume 1 Tables

Chapter 1: Population

Chapter 2: Citizenship and Country of birth

Chapter 3: Migration

Chapter 4: Racial Origin

Chapter 5: Religious Affiliation

Census Publication Volume 1-01
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