More men are living in Malta than women for the first time in recorded history, with the change believed to be linked to immigration.  

Preliminary data from the 2021 Census shows that the number of women in Malta has risen by 45,000 when compared to 2011, the date of the previous census.

However, that number is dwarfed by the 62,000 increase in the number of men on the islands.

This means that 52% of the Maltese population is male, marking a significant shift from all previous demographic records of the country since the first census was taken in 1842.

Since 1967 the gap between the two sexes has narrowed. Chart: NSOSince 1967 the gap between the two sexes has narrowed. Chart: NSO

Previously, women always outnumbered men. In 1967 there were 11 women for every 10 men on the islands but the gap has narrowed since then. Research undertaken by a University of Malta student cited a 1960s fertility study that alleged an even bigger gap between the number of men and women.

The ratio of men to women has been slowly levelling out over the past decades, with men having now overtaken women.

Deputy census officer at the National Statistics Office, Silvan Zammit, said the reversal was fuelled by immigration.  

“The majority of foreigners in Malta, some 60%, are men,” he noted.

Zammit made the further point that even though the gap between men and women has been narrowing for decades, the number of “foreigners migrating to Malta has quickened the trend.” 

The census pointed out that there are some discrepancies at district level. For example, there is an almost even share of men (50.6%) and women (49.4%) in the Western District (Attard, Balzan, Dingli, Iklin, Lija, Mdina, Mtarfa, Rabat, Siggiewi and Zebbug). 

The gap is wider in the SouthEastern District with 52.5 per cent of males and 47.5 per cent of females. This area comprises Birzebbuga, Ghaxaq, Gudja, Kirkop, Marsascala, Marsaxlokk, Imqabba, Qrendi, Safi, Zejtun and Zurrieq. 

Preliminary results for the 2021 Census were published on Monday. Separate thematic volumes based on the data are set to be published in the following months.

As a rule of thumb, single men are more likely to migrate than any other group. 

Migration was also the cause of Malta having previously been a country of more women than men.

In the twenty years following the Second World War, some 140,000 migrants left Malta in search of employment opportunities elsewhere, mainly to Australia, Canada, and the United States. The majority of those were men.

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