Women in Malta graduate more, earn less and live longer

Women make up 49.7% of population, graduate more, and have a longer life expectancy, however, they are still 5% more unemployed, paid 11% less and are more at risk of poverty or social exclusion

With women making up 49.7% of Malta' and Gozo's population, tomorrow's International Women's Day will celebrate almost half of the Islands' population.

Marking the day, NSO released overall statistics about women's lives and roles in Malta. The statistics shows that at the end of December 2016, the female population in Malta and Gozo stood at 228,634 making up 49.7% of the total population.

Year on year, there were more male resident births than female ones registered in Malta and Gozo. In 2016, female live births numbered 2,111 compared to 2,365 male live births.

Women live longer, however, as statistics of thee same year shows that life expectancy for females at birth stood at 84.4 years while for males it was 80.6 years.

Life expectancy at birth by sex: 2012-2016
Life expectancy at birth by sex: 2012-2016

This partly explains why population counts for both sexes remain relatively close despite the fact that male births outnumber female ones.


The statistics also show that the number of female students enrolled in post-secondary and tertiary education institutions during academic year 2015-2016 stood at 12,645 making up  52.4% of total enrolments. Among those enrolled in the 15-24 age bracket, 51.9%were females.

Graduates in tertiary education by age group and sex: 2015-2016
Graduates in tertiary education by age group and sex: 2015-2016

Moreover, 59.2% of the students who graduated at the tertiary level were females.


Women also seem to use the internet more than man. In 2017, 95.3% of women used the internet on a daily basis against 92.6% of men.

While both women and men went online mainly for communication and access to information purposes, the female percentages in this regard were higher, for example, 97.1%of women compared to 94.7% of men for communication.


Figures from the Labour Force Survey also reveal that the highest female employment rate (64.3%) was in the 25-54 age bracket.

READ MORE: Maltese women remain under-represented on decision-making boards

On average an employed female worked around 35 hours per week, which is six hours less than her male counterpart. On the other hand, the unemployment rate for women was nearly one percentage point higher than that for men, at 5%.

Unemployment rate by sex: 2005-2016
Unemployment rate by sex: 2005-2016

The highest unemployment rate was among females aged between 15 and 24. This could be attributed to the face that more women of that age are enrolled at tertiary education institutions.

Between 2014 and 2016, the overall gender pay gap increased by 0.4 percentage points showing that by 2016, men were paid 11.0% more than women.

The gap is highest for the 65+ cohort, standing at 21.1% followed by the 35-44 cohort at 13.1%.

Between 2014 and 2016, an overall drop of 4.3 % was recorded in the cohort 35-64.

Living Conditions

Despite a decrease in percentage difference since 2014, at risk of poverty or social exclusion rates show that women are more at risk of poverty or social exclusion than men.

In 2016, there were an estimated 42,567 women at risk of poverty or social exclusion compared to 51,298 in 2014.

In 2014 and 2015, women between 0-17 years old were the most at risk of poverty or social exclusion. By 2016, there was a shift whereby women in the 65+ cohort were the most vulnerable, and those who were separated or widowed were at the higher risk of poverty or social exclusion.

Expenditure patterns

The Household Budgetary Survey in 2015 shows that out of the 164,815 households, 36% of the heads of household were women.

In addition, households with a male breadwinner, on average spent 4,496 more than households with a female head of households.

An analysis of household expenditure distribution from a gender perspective indicated that households with a female head  tend to spend bigger shares on housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuel, food and non-alcoholic beverages.

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