Population of Malta

What is the population of Malta?

Currently, the population of Malta is 542 051 inhabitants according to the latest revised estimates (July 11, 2023) from the National Statistics Office, the Maltese statistical agency.

The archipelago had 421,464 inhabitants in 2012. Over the past ten years, Malta’s population has therefore increased by 28.6%.

Malta is the country with the smallest population of the 27 European Union member countries. Among European countries, Malta is the fifth smallest country in terms of inhabitants, behind Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, and Andorra.

What is the population density in Malta?

Malta stands out for being a small state, hosting an updated population of 542 051 inhabitants, spread over an area of only 316 km². Therefore, the population density of Malta is around 1,715 inhabitants per square kilometer.

Due to the small size of its territory, the Maltese archipelago shows a high concentration of inhabitants. Malta is both the smallest country in the European Union in terms of area and paradoxically the European country with the highest population density.

The population density of Malta and its status as the most densely populated country in Europe, however, deserve to be considered with nuance, given its status as a microstate. In comparison, major European cities like Paris, Berlin, Rome, or Madrid, which are urban agglomerations, have densities far exceeding 2,000 inhabitants per km². For example, Paris has a density of more than 20,000 inhabitants per km², which is not at all comparable with Maltese cities.

Actual Population vs. Counted Population

The Maltese archipelago has several peculiarities: it is both a highly sought-after destination by many foreigners and a very popular tourist spot.

Many expatriates and immigrants present in Malta do not appear in the official census figures.

The archipelago also welcomes nearly 2.9 million travelers each year. Thus, the island is structurally very populated, even overcrowded during the summer season, a period during which there are nearly one resident for every tourist present on the archipelago.

What are the most populous cities in Malta?

Contrary to popular belief, Valletta, the capital of Malta, is not the most populous city in Malta. Valletta has only 5,182 inhabitants.

In 2023, the three most populous cities on the island, excluding tourist attendance, are San Pawl il-Baħar (35,419 inhabitants), Birkirkara (27,555 inhabitants), and Mosta (24,290 inhabitants). Tas-Sliema (Sliema), with nearly 21,108 inhabitants, has the highest population density in Malta.

The least populous city in Malta is currently L-Imdina (Mdina), the former capital of Malta, with only 202 recorded inhabitants.

Population in Malta and Immigration

Immigration in Malta, or more broadly the population of foreign origin residing in Malta, is a structuring aspect of the island’s demographic evolution. Mass immigration, with nearly 100,000 new residents in 10 years, has been the driving force behind the significant demographic increase.

In 2023, out of the total population of Malta, 404,675 inhabitants are of Maltese origin (74.6%) and 137,376 of foreign origin (25.4%). Currently, one in four inhabitants in Malta is not of Maltese origin. In 2012, only 5.5% of Malta’s inhabitants were of foreign origin.

The four most prevalent foreign nationalities in Malta are Italians, British, Indians, and Filipinos.

This demographic evolution is visible both in society and in the political debates that animate the island.