Malta’s population growth has been accelerating sharply since 2012, from an average of less than 1% to nearly 4% in 2018, figures released in parliament show.
As a result, Malta’s population has become one of the fastest-growing on earth.
Population estimates provided by Finance Minister Edward Scicluna show that Malta’s population increased from 352,430 in 1989 to 493,559 in 2018, a total increase of 40%.
But population growth was actually quite low between 1989 and 2011, averaging just 0.77% during the period. In fact, population growth only exceeded 1% in two years during that period; a 1.02% increase in 1991 and a trend-defying 2.95% increase in 2000.
Malta’s EU accession in 2004 – and the ensuing opening of European borders – did not initially translate into an increase in population. In fact, the lowest growth rate – just 0.15% – was registered in 2006.
But the rate has exceeded 1% since 2012, 2% since 2014 and 3% since 2017. The population grew by 3.35% in 2017 and 3.75% a year later: population figures for 2019 are not yet available.
The World Bank estimates that only seven other countries registered a faster population growth in 2018. However, that figure appears to be based on 2017 figures: using the figures supplied in parliament, Malta registered the fourth-fastest population growth that year, only slightly behind the Maldives (3.81%) and Niger (3.82%). Bahrain’s population registered the fastest growth rate by a considerable margin, at 4.92%.
The global population increased by 1.1% during 2018.