Maltese population grows by four
The National Statistics Office reports that since the
last census taken in 1995, the Maltese population has grown by four
per cent, while over the past ten years the population experienced positive
yearly increases averaging 0.5 per cent.
At the end of 2002, the Maltese population stood at 386,938 and consisted
of 191,975 males and 194,963 females.
The total population at the end of 2002, including the foreign element
resident in the Maltese Islands, stood at 397,296, with 196,836 males
and 200,460 females.
The NSO explains that population changes are the result of two main
factors: the difference between births and deaths and the migration
balance. The two movements may not necessarily be in the same direction
but both the natural and the migration balances have been positive during
the past years.
In 1993, there was a natural increase of 2,455 in the Maltese population.
This represented 71 per cent of the total population growth during the
year. Ten years after, the natural increase declined to 774 or 42 per
cent. This drop was mainly the result of low fertility rates. Mortality
rates did not register any notable fluctuations and migration flows
were relatively low throughout the period.
Resident foreign population
During the past years, the incidence of foreigners within the Maltese
population has always been of minor importance. At the last census held
in 1995, the number of foreign residents was 7,213, of whom 3,555 or
49 per cent were British.
All European countries have over the past decade, experienced a decrease
in fertility. The case of Malta is a notable example. Ten years ago,
the crude birth rate was 14.11; by 2002 it had come down to 9.86 and
may be expected to decline further in future. In 2002, Malta registered
the lowest ever number of live births during the past two decades.
In Malta, there has also been a modest change in values and attitudes
towards marriage and its various forms. Although there has not been
any change in the yearly number of marriages, there has been an increase
in the number of extramarital births which in 2002 represented 14.6
per cent of live births. Moreover, the number of civil marriages has
been on the increase. In 1993 there were 275 civil marriages out of
a total of 2,476. During 2002 there were 2,240 marriages contracted,
including 575 civil marriages.
There has been quite an improvement in life expectancy during the past
years, whereas also registered was a noticeable drop in infant mortality
rates. In 1993 the infant mortality rate was 8.2, whilst in 2002 it
stood at 6.0. The number of deaths per year has averaged at 2,800 over
the past decade.