Malta’s population is now up to over 563,000 people, according to national statistics published on Wednesday to mark World Population Day.

The data shows that the number of people in Malta has shot up by almost 21,000, or 4 per cent, in the space of the year to reach 563,443 by the end of 2023. This figure stood at 542,051 a year earlier.

This increase was mostly driven by immigration, which reached its highest ever level, with over 42,000 people moving to Malta throughout 2023.

Over three-quarters of migrants (some 33,000) were third-country nationals including UK citizens, with almost 7,000 EU nationals also coming to live in Malta. Some 2,200 Maltese citizens also returned to the islands in 2023, after a spell living abroad.

But 2023 didn’t just see more people move to Malta – it also saw more people leave than ever before.

Emigration has almost doubled from 13,000 in 2022 to over 21,000 the following year, meaning that the net increase in people was lower last year than it previously was.

Most people who left the country were, unsurprisingly, third-country nationals, with 13,500 leaving the country throughout the year, along with 6,000 EU citizens and 1,700 Maltese.

Men far outnumber women

Malta’s migration has also had a clear effect on the gender balance across Malta’s population. Women in Malta outnumbered men until 2013, when the tide began to turn. Today there are 34,000 more men in the country than there are women.

Much of this difference can be found amongst working age people between the ages of 20 and 50, which make up roughly half the population. In this group, there are 35,000 more men than women.

On the other hand, there are more or less as many girls as there are boys under the age of 19, and women far outnumber men amongst the over 60s.

People over 60 now make up a just under a quarter of Malta's total population.

Births slightly up, deaths on the decline

4,462 babies were born in 2023, more than during any other year since 2016. Last year’s tally was 153 more than the previous year.

In almost half of all births, the parent who gave birth was between the ages of 30 to 34, with a further one in five between 35 and 39, suggesting that fewer people are choosing to have children throughout their 20s.

Malta’s fertility rate has been under the spotlight, with EU data showing it to be the lowest in Europe and some studies predicting that it is set to drop further in the future.

Deaths throughout the year topped the 4,000 mark, but were lower than at any point since 2019, with Malta registering 200 fewer deaths last year compared to 2022.

Seven out of every ten deaths were among people over the age of 75.

Meanwhile, infant mortality has dipped to its lowest levels in the past 15 years, with just 16 deaths amongst infants under the age of one. This is half the high of 34 registered in 2008.

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