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Large families prevail in rural and affluent towns

Valletta, Sliema and St Paul’s Bay retain the highest number of single-person households

james
James Debono
10 March 2014, 12:52pm
Last updated on 10 March 2014, 1:00pm
Affluent villages in Malta are hosting the largest families on the island
Affluent villages in Malta are hosting the largest families on the island
Valletta has the highest percentage of single-person households while Mtarfa, on the other end of the spectrum, is hosting the highest percentage of households composed of five persons or more.

This emerges from a recently published report on the Maltese national census conducted in 2011.

Malta’s youngest locality, Mtarfa, which includes a large number of social housing projects and has a mean age of 47 years, boasts the highest percentage of households with more than five persons.

It is closely followed by rural Dingli, which has a slightly older population.

Families in Mtarfa also tend to be slightly larger than those in Pembroke, which has a similar mean age.

Pembroke and Mtarfa also have the largest number of four-person households. In these two localities four-person households account for a third of all households in the two towns.

A question of affluence?

Big families tend to prevail in both northern rural and south-eastern localities, and in affluent western towns like Iklin and Attard. 

In Iklin households with more than five members account for 13% of all households while in Attard these account for 11%. Both middle-class localities also have a large number of four-person households.

Compared to Attard, Swieqi – which has a similar mean age and social composition – boasts a higher percentage of single-person and two-person households. Only 2% of Swieqi households are composed of more than six persons, but 7.6% are composed of households of five persons.

But families tend to be smaller in younger but more urban towns like Marsaskala.

In Marsaskala, which has a mean age of 48, just higher than Mtarfa and much younger than Marsaxlokk, only 7% of households are composed of five or more members, while only 19% are composed of four members, much less than Attard and Iklin.

Working-class Fgura, which has a mean age of 52, boasts the highest percentage of three-person households in Malta, followed by Kirkop, Gudja and Attard.

On the other hand, the south-eastern fishing village of Marsaxlokk, which has a mean age of 54, boasts the highest percentage of families with more than six persons. In this town more than 4% of households have more than six members.

But the poorest working towns tend to have a higher percentage of big households.

In Bormla, which has a high mean age of 55, 3.6% of all households have more than six members. In Santa Lucija, another ageing town where the mean age is 59, 8.1% of households are composed of five members, while 3.3% have more than five members.

A question of age?

Not surprisingly, two-person households – mostly elderly couples whose children left home to set up a new family – tend to prevail in ageing localities like Ta’Xbiex, Santa Lucija and Sliema.

Valletta and Sliema, which have an ageing population, also host the highest number of single-person households. But single-person households also account for 37% of all households in Saint Paul’s Bay, which has a younger mean age of 50. Only a third of households in this seaside town are composed of three members or more. A similar pattern is observed in Zebbug in Gozo, which has a similar mean age and where 37% of households have only one member.

This suggests that Saint Paul’s Bay and Zebbug could be attracting a fair share of separated or unmarried people. Sliema, which over the past years has seen the development of a large number of apartments, could also be attracting more affluent single people.

james
James Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...