Many localities in the northern part of the island are experiencing double-digit growth rates in their population, new statistics show.

The Maltese population as a whole grew by 8% compared to 2015 while Gozo also registered a 5% increase.

An exercise conducted by Times of Malta, based on the estimated population figures per locality published by the government this week, shows that the official total population reached 475,701 this January 1, growing by more than 36,000 people compared to three years ago.

Read: Population growth - is Malta reaching the limit?

A comparison on the growth rate registered on a locality-by-locality basis shows that while the average increase in the last three years across both islands stood at 7.5%, the large and already populated localities in the north saw their residential population bulge, posting double-digit increases.

With the exception of Marsascala, where the population grew by 12% since 2015, all the other major localities that experienced heavy growth rates are situated to the north, with St Paul’s Bay topping the list. Until a few years ago, the locality was considered as a quiet summer vacation seaside resort but the situation changed dramatically over period of a few years, with the town having the largest population on the island.

The town is now home to more than 100 nationalities, with the government having to build new schools

Until three years ago, the largest town was Birkirkara. However, between 2015 and 2018, the number of residents in St Paul’s Bay grew by more than a fourth – 26%. According to a recent study, the town is now home to more than 100 nationalities, with the government having to build new schools to cater for the massive demand in the area.

Another four localities – Msida (23%), St Julian’s (21%), Gżira (21%) and Swieqi (20%), all neighbouring towns – saw their residential population soar by a fifth, registering growth rates of over 20% since 2015.

Read: Increase in Malta population more than 15 times that of the EU

Following closely is Sliema, considered as the most prosperous locality on the island, which registered an official growth rate of 19% in the period under review, having a population surpassing 21,000. Other major increases were registered in Mellieħa and San Ġwann.

According to the statistics, all 68 towns and villages across the island reported population increases over the past years, with Mdina having the smallest, two residents, to reach a total population of 237.

Constituted bodies, NGOs and Opposition political parties have been harping on the need to have a plan to manage migration, arguing that the current trends are not sustainable on the long term for a small island. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat insists he wants a “cosmopolitan island”.

  2018 2015 Difference %
Malta 442,996 408,596 34,373 +8
Gozo 32,705 31,095 1,610 +5
Total 475,701 439,691 36,010 +7.5
  2018 2015 Difference %
St Paul’s Bay 26,133 19,316 +6,817 +26
Msida 12,216 9,413 +2,803 +23
St Julian’s 12,708 10,075 +2,633 +21
Gżira 10,784 8,512 +2,272 +21
Swieqi 13,553 10,879 +2,674 +20
Sliema 21,068 17,109 +3,959 +19
Marsascala 13,726 12,033 +1,693 +12
Mellieħa 10,868 9,486 +1,382 +12
San Ġwann 14,125 12,900 +1,225 +9
Birkirkara 23,750 22,378 +1,192 +5
Mosta 20,551 19,925 +626 +3
Qormi 16,500 16,207 +293 +1.7

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