The total population of Malta as at the end of 2004 stood at 402,668 persons, of which 50.4 per cent were women according to statistics published by the National Statistics Office to commemorate World Population Day.
In approximately sixty years, the population increased by 31.6 per cent. The years between 1931 and 1948 alone saw an increase in the population of 26.6 per cent. Between 1931 and 2004, population density went up from 764 to 1,274 persons per square kilometre.
The present natural net increase is declining slowly since births are decreasing annually.
Deaths are also decreasing but at a lesser pace. Since 1948 births decreased by 2.6 per cent whereas deaths decreased by 0.5 per cent.
The total fertility rate decreased from 3.80 in 1957 to 1.37 in 2004. While sixty years ago, life expectancy was registered at 55.7 years for men and 57.7 for women, this now stands at 76.4 and 80.4 years for men and women respectively (as at end 2003). In the same period the still birth rate dipped from 23 to 3.80 while the neonatal death rate also decreased drastically - from 38.60 to 4.40. The infant mortality rate dropped dramatically, by 107.10.
Diseases of the circulatory system continue to constitute the main cause of death in
Malta. However, while thirty years ago, the second largest number of deaths were caused by diseases of the digestive system, this rate is currently held by deaths caused by neoplasms.
While in 1948, the largest age cohort was that of 0 to 4 years, this positon in 2004 was held by the 45-59 year age groups. The 65 to 69 age cohort is projected to have the largest increase in the year 2025 projected population. If the same demographic trends continue, the future population should experience a bigger decline in the natural net increase since the total fertility rate tends to drop further while longevity increases.
Trends in migration movements have changed over the years. Half a century ago, the net difference between emigrants and immigrants with regard to Malta showed a positive balance towards emigrants, with a net migration decrease of 8,010 persons. In 2004, a positive balance was recorded in favour of immigrants, with a net migration increase of 1,199 persons.