Demography is the study of human population dynamics. It encompasses the study of the size, structure and distribution of populations, and how populations change over time due to births, deaths and migration. The regional demographic statistics for Malta provide annual data on population, vital events (live births and deaths) and marriages at NUTS3 (LAU 1) level. This information is compiled basing on a harmonised methodology stipulated by European Regulation (EC) No. 1260/2013.
On a national level, demographic statistics are essential for policy making by Ministries, Government departments and Authorities working within the social and economic fields. Other stakeholders also include research institutions, the University of Malta, other educational institutions, students and private companies. High quality population statistics are crucial for estimating probabilities of selection in survey sampling and hence in the calculation of weights in a number of surveys. In addition, vital events together with internal and external migration are required for updating the population and dwellings register.
The completeness of demographic outputs depends on the availability of data received from the responsible Public Authorities in Malta and Gozo. In fact, all demographic data is collected from administrative sources, and data is requested and collected on an annual basis.
Demography statistics are then compiled and are based on the concept of ‘usual residence’. This refers to the place where persons normally spend their daily period of rest, regardless of temporary absences for purposes of recreation, holidays, visits to friends and relatives, business, medical treatment or religious pilgrimage.
The following persons alone shall be considered to be usual residents of a specific geographical area:
Accuracy and reliability of data
During the compilation of all demographic outputs, consistency checks are continuously done to verify that totals tally between different tables, and that the total of a variable is consistent with the breakdown by different variables. Checks are also being done to verify that statistics are consistent with what has been published in previous years.
Timeliness and punctuality of data
The ‘World Population Day’ news release related to demography is published on the NSO’s website on the pre-established date as scheduled in the Advance Release Calendar which can also be viewed on the NSO’s website.
The ‘Demographic Review’ publication is normally made available on the NSO’s website during year T+2.
Data related to demography is always sent to the Eurostat within the deadlines stipulated by Regulation mentioned earlier. Tables with demographic indicators are compiled and transmitted to Eurostat mainly during July and December of year T+1 .
Accessibility and clarity of data
The main output at national level is the ‘Demographic Review’ publication which has been published as from reference year 2001. A news release is published annually related to demography to commemorate ‘World Population Day’.
Another news release related to demography, ‘Naming Babies’, used to be published, and made available on the NSO’s website, in the past. This was last published in 2015 for reference year 2014.
Tables related to demography are also available on the NSO’s statistical database (StatDB). These include data related to population counts by sex and age, population counts by locality, crude deaths rates, crude birth rates and total fertility rates.
Every year, a metadata report is submitted to Eurostat and a similar report is also produced at a national level and disseminated on NSO’s metadata website.
Coherence and comparability/consistency of data
Demography is the only source of population statistics and is compiled using the strict definition of ‘usual residence’. To this end, coherence tests with other domains, with the exception of the Population and Housing Census data, are not possible. Census data is considered comparable in view of intercensal revisions and given that in general, the same principles are applied.
Demographic data is fully comparable at regional level and also over time given that very minor changes have been made during the past years in the methodology used for the compilation of demographic statistics.