15,000 per square kilometre: Sliema is now Malta’s densest town

Malta’s population stands at 519,562 persons

File photo
File photo

Population density has increased to 1,649 people for each square kilometre, but the number increased to a staggering 15,000/sq.km in Sliema.

Foreigners contribute to increase in population accounting for 33% of population in North Harbour districts.

The data was published in the preliminary report on the 2021 population and housing census carried out last year.

Of a total population of 519,562 persons living in Malta, 115,449 are foreigners, the national census carried out in 2021 shows.

This amounts to 22% of the total population, and represents a fivefold increase in foreign population since 2012.  Non-Maltese are nine years younger in age and predominantly males (59.3%).

Foreigners have contributed to demographic changes with males now outnumbering females for the first time since the first census in 1842, with males now accounting to 52% of the total population.  The average age has increased slightly from 40.5 to 41.7 thanks to the increase in over 65-year-olds but the increase in the average age was contained by the influx of younger foreigners.

In Saint Paul’s Bay the increase in foreign population amounted to 14,000 followed by Sliema (7,500) and Msida (6,756). Almost a third of all foreigners live in these three localities.

In the North harbour district (which includes urban centres like Sliema, Msida, B’Kara and Qormi) 33% are foreigners in contrast with only 8.8% in western district (which includes Zebbug and Attard).

The increase in population is reflected in increase in density from 1,325 per 1 km2 in 2011 to 1,649 per 1 km2 now. Largest increase in density was in St Paul’s Bay. In the EU, the average is 100 people per km2. 

In the North Harbour area, the density is over 6,500 per km2.  Malta is 3.4 times as dense as Gozo.

Sliema (15,000 people per sq.m) has now also surpassed Isla as Malta’s most dense locality. 

The number of localities with a population of more than 10,000 have increase from 16 to 22 over past 10 years.  St Paul’s Bay has now overtaken B’Kara as Malta’s largest locality with a population of 32,042 people now followed by B’Kara (25,807) and Mosta (23,482).

40% of the Maltese live in the 10 largest localities.  

But population decreased in eight localities: Mdina, Isla, St Lucija, Bormla, Valletta, Birgu, Floriana and Mtarfa.

Before 2011, population used to increase by less than 1,000 a year. In the past ten years population has increased by more than 100,000 due to migration. Some areas experienced larger increase.

The census shows a substantial shift to the northern part of the island. The population in the northern region has doubled in past 10 years. On the other hand, in the southern regions, the population increased by 8%.  Gozo’s population has increased by 25%. 

The census confirms that Malta is a dynamic metropolis, Dr Carl Camilleri, Chairman of the Malta Statistics Authority said. 

More details from the census including information on housing, sexual orientation and religion will be issued in the next months, Silvan Zammit, deputy census officer NSO said.