New identity document data has provided a snapshot of the number of Maltese and foreign nationals living in each locality, as the population continues to swell.

The information, updated to September 2023, was provided by Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri in reply to a parliamentary question asked by PN MP Mark Anthony Sammut.

The data includes all Maltese and foreign residents currently in Malta, excluding Maltese children under the age of 14, who are not issued an ID card. The latest census data estimates that there are around 37,000 Maltese children under the age of 10.

By September 2023, 516,756 people in Malta had an identity document. About 71% – 370,846 people – are Maltese nationals.

The ministry classified non-Maltese nationals into four categories: residents on the single permit, which make up some 11.5% of the total; European nationals (8.9%); non-EU nationals (5.9%); and British nationals who obtained a residency permit following Brexit (1.9%).

The single permit allows holders to live and work in Malta for a period of up to one year at a time. It is tied to a specific job and if a permit holder suddenly becomes unemployed, they only have 10 days to find work and reapply for the permit. If this cannot be accomplished, they will have to leave the country.

One in four is non-Maltese

According to the National Statistics Office, some 542,051 people lived in Malta at the end of 2022, with 137,376 – or just over 25% – being foreign nationals.

Based on this new data, the number of foreigners living in Malta since then has jumped by 8,534 people, a rise of 6.2%.

The data also revealed differences in where different people choose to live.

St Paul’s Bay remains Malta’s most highly populated locality with over 36,000 residents. Of those 36,013 people, 14,311 are Maltese and the remaining 21,702 – 60% – are foreign nationals.

The localities with the highest concentration of Maltese people are Birkirkara with 18,146, and Mosta with 17,766 people. A high number of Maltese also live in Żabbar and Qormi, with each home to around 14,000 Maltese people.

Meanwhile, European nationals in Malta seemed to prefer making a home in the northern harbour district. Barring St Paul’s Bay, with 5,581, Sliema has the highest number of EU residents living in it with 5,702 people, followed by St Julian’s with 3,164 people and Gżira with 2,714. Msida and Swieqi were also popular with EU residents, with both housing just under 2,500 people.

After St Paul’s Bay, Msida is the most popular locality with non-EU residents, with 6,416 people making their home there, according to the data.

Where do non-EU nationals live?

Sliema and St Julian’s are also home to a relatively high concentration of non-EU nationals, with 5,327 and 4,081 people respectively. They are followed by Ħamrun and Qormi, which both accommodate just under 3,000 third-country nationals.

The least populated towns in Malta are Mdina, which registers 291 residents, and Għasri with 586 people. No other locality in Malta or Gozo registers below 1,000 inhabitants according to the data.

Other localities with a low number of inhabitants include Fontana with 1,056 people, Għarb with 1,771, Munxar with 2,000, Floriana with 2,040 and Xgħajra with 2,133.

The data also shows that a high number of foreign workers probably leave their children behind in their home countries when they settle in Malta.

Non-EU residents who are in Malta on the single permit account for the largest share of foreign people given permission to live and work in the country. This cohort is made up of 59,456 people, eight of them under 18 years of age.

Single permit holders have the right to apply for family reunification, which allows their spouse and children to join them in Malta, however, to qualify they have to prove that they have the means to support the family.

According to a policy document issued by Malta’s identity agency (last updated in August 2023), this is equivalent to earning €18,155 plus an additional 20% per family member.

While the data presented does not account for the number of Maltese children under the age of 14, teenagers between 14 and 17 years old were also broken down by locality.

Birkirkara is home to the largest number of registered Maltese teens, with 688 people, followed by 587 in Mosta, 525 in Żabbar, 427 in Qormi and 434 in St Paul’s Bay.

Population facts

•    Foreign nationals make up 60% of the population of St Paul’s Bay.

•    Birkirkara is the town with the highest number of Maltese residents.

•    Sliema has the highest number of EU residents after St Paul’s Bay.

•    The least populated town in Malta and Gozo is Mdina.

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