Sliema has become almost as densely populated as Paris, which has more people per kilometre than any other city in Europe.

And St Paul’s Bay is now home to a population that is getting close to the size of Gozo’s.

Census data released last week sheds new light on some of the drastic changes that many local towns have undergone over the past decade as Malta's population rose past half a million.

The population of St Paul's Bay has doubled to 32,000 in 10 years, the highest in Malta. Photo: Chris Sant FournierThe population of St Paul's Bay has doubled to 32,000 in 10 years, the highest in Malta. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Almost all towns in Malta and Gozo have increased in population since 2011, with the notable exceptions of Cottonera, Valletta and Floriana.

The towns that grew most drastically are located in coastal areas, with the towns of Sliema, St Julians, Mellieħa, and Marsascala all seeing large increases.

The town that has grown most of all is St Paul’s Bay, which has doubled in size over the past decade to become Malta’s most populated town with just over 32,000 inhabitants. The entire island of Gozo, by comparison, is home to just over 39,000 people.

Msida also increased by a staggering 75% over the past ten years, welcoming almost 6,000 new residents.

Sliema is almost as densely populated as Paris

In line with the overall growth in their population, most towns have become more densely populated, with an average increase of just over 500 more people per square kilometre compared to 2011.

Sliema is now the most densely populated town in Malta, with almost 20,000 people per square kilometre. This puts its population density at just below that of Paris, the most densely populated city in Europe according to Eurostat data.

Paris has a population density of just under 21,000 people per square kilometre, far ahead of other European metropolitan areas. London and Berlin, by comparison, are home to a little over 5,500 and 4,000 people per square kilometre respectively.

Eurostat data also shows that the single most densely populated square kilometre in Europe is a stretch of land in Barcelona which has a density of over 53,000 people per square kilometre.

Pedestrians cross the Champs-Elysees in Paris. Photo: AFPPedestrians cross the Champs-Elysees in Paris. Photo: AFP

Aside from Sliema, other inner harbour towns also experienced drastic increases in their density, with Msida, Pietá, Gzira and St Julians registering the highest rate of density growth.

Senglea, long known to be the most densely populated town in Malta, was the town that experienced the greatest decrease in its density, with almost 3,000 fewer people per square kilometre compared to 2011.

Malta’s overall population density remains the highest in the EU, at over 1,600 people per square kilometre.

Which are Malta’s youngest towns?

Għargħur is now Malta’s youngest town, with an average age of 37.1, significantly lower than the national average of 41.7.

The data reveals a clear link between towns growing in population and their getting younger.

The average age in Sliema decreased by almost 4 years, whilst Msida St Julians and Pietá also among the towns getting younger.

Mirroring this, the towns that saw a drop in population saw an increase in the average age of their residents, with the residents of Cottonera and Valletta getting older on average.

Malta’s previous youngest town, Pembroke, was one of the towns which saw its average age increase most drastically, with its residents now an average of six years older than in 2011. Mtarfa, Santa Luċija and San Lawrenz also experienced similar increases.

Mdina remains Malta’s oldest town with an average age of almost 54, followed by Vittoriosa and Santa Luċija.

Speaking to Times of Malta, the Malta Sociological Association said that these demographic changes have had a complex impact on Maltese society.

"One benefit is that Malta has managed to sustain its economic model, with ramifications such as low unemployment rates and positive returns on investment by people from different social classes. At the same time, the sustainability of this model can be questioned, also in relation to its social and environmental impacts. These include the rise of precarious unemployment, unaffordable housing and over-congestion", a spokesperson said.

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