Children make up 17% of Malta's population

On the eve of World Children's Day, the National Statistics Office released figures showing there are almost 80,000 children in Malta of which just over 8,000 are foreign • 21% of children are at risk of poverty

There were almost 80,000 children up to the age of 17 living in Malta last year, figures released on the eve of World Children's Day by the National Statistics Office show.

Children made up 17% of Malta's resident population last year. Malta's population stood at 475,701 in 2017.

Foreign children made up 11% of all children in Malta last year.

The figures show that out of 50,069 students in primary and secondary school, 5,371 were of foreign nationality. The majority of foreign students in compulsory education were British, followed by Italians and Libyans.

The NSO said that 21% of children were at risk of poverty, with the most vulnerable age group being that between 10 and 14.

The majority of children lived in the Northern Harbour District (29.9%).

Most households with children lived in flats. Only 1,790 households with children lived in detached houses in 2017.

Households with children spent approximately 18.3% of their total expenditure on food and non-alcoholic beverages, followed by transport (15.7%) and clothing and footwear (8.9%).

On the same day as the NSO released the figures, Children's Commissioner Pauline Miceli and Family Minister Michael Falzon, visited St Theresa College, Middle School in Birkirkara to mark the start of a series of workshops intended to help implement the National Children's Policy.

Commissioner for Children, Pauline Miceli, at St Theresa Middle School
Commissioner for Children, Pauline Miceli, at St Theresa Middle School

Miceli also launched the child-friendly version of the National Children's Policy.

"The outcome of the workshops will contribute to the monitoring of the implementation of the National Children's Policy," a spokesperson for the Children's Commissioner said.

The policy was drafted in consultation with children aged between four and 17 years with the aim of safeguarding and promoting the rights and general wellbeing of children.

It was guided by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and aims to promote the development and wellbeing of children in terms of the physical, psychological and socio-economic aspects.

The policy's three main principles are protection, provision and participation. It was launched last year.

"Children participating in the workshops will be presented with a copy of the child-friendly version of the Policy... the office is also distributing a number of age-appropriate publications in Malta and Gozo to promote children's rights and literacy," the spokesperson said. These include reading books, story books and a leaflet promoting mental wellbeing.

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