Great Britain formally acquired Malta in 1814. The island staunchly supported the UK through both world wars and remained in the Commonwealth when it became independent in 1964; a decade later it declared itself a republic. Since about the mid-1980s, the island has transformed itself into a freight transshipment point, a financial center, and a tourist destination while its key industries moved toward more service-oriented activities. Malta became an EU member in May 2004 and began using the euro as currency in 2008.



Southern Europe, islands in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily (Italy)

Geographic coordinates

35 50 N, 14 35 E

Map references



total: 316 sq km
land: 316 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly less than twice the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

0 km


196.8 km (excludes 56 km for the island of Gozo)

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive fishing zone: 25 nm


Mediterranean; mild, rainy winters; hot, dry summers


mostly low, rocky, flat to dissected plains; many coastal cliffs


mean elevation: NA
elevation extremes: lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Ta'Dmejrek 253 m (near Dingli)

Natural resources

limestone, salt, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 32.3%
arable land 28.4%; permanent crops 3.9%; permanent pasture 0%
forest: 0.9%
other: 66.8% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

35 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards


Environment - current issues

limited natural freshwater resources; increasing reliance on desalination

Environment - international agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

the country comprises an archipelago, with only the three largest islands (Malta, Ghawdex or Gozo, and Kemmuna or Comino) inhabited; numerous bays provide good harbors; Malta and Tunisia are discussing the commercial exploitation of the continental shelf between their countries, particularly for oil exploration

People and Society


415,196 (July 2016 est.)


noun: Maltese (singular and plural)
adjective: Maltese

Ethnic groups

Maltese (descendants of ancient Carthaginians and Phoenicians with strong elements of Italian and other Mediterranean stock)


Maltese (official) 90.1%, English (official) 6%, multilingual 3%, other 0.9% (2005 est.)


Roman Catholic (official) more than 90% (2011 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 15.01% (male 31,978/female 30,361)
15-24 years: 11.84% (male 25,276/female 23,890)
25-54 years: 40.1% (male 85,151/female 81,346)
55-64 years: 13.98% (male 28,797/female 29,251)
65 years and over: 19.06% (male 35,614/female 43,532) (2016 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 50.8%
youth dependency ratio: 21.8%
elderly dependency ratio: 29%
potential support ratio: 3.4% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 41.5 years
male: 40.4 years
female: 42.7 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

0.29% (2016 est.)

Birth rate

10.1 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Death rate

9.2 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Population distribution

most of the population lives on the eastern half of Malta, the largest of the three inhabited islands


urban population: 95.4% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 0.46% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

VALLETTA (capital) 197,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

9 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 3.5 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 80.4 years
male: 78 years
female: 82.8 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.55 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Health expenditures

9.7% of GDP (2014)

Physicians density

3.49 physicians/1,000 population (2013)

Hospital bed density

4.8 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Drinking water source

urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths


Obesity - adult prevalence rate

28.7% (2014)

Education expenditures

8.3% of GDP (2013)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94.4%
male: 93.1%
female: 95.8% (2015 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 15 years
male: 15 years
female: 14 years (2014)

Mother's mean age at first birth

note: data refer to the average of the different childbearing ages of first-order births (2010 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 11.8%
male: 13.8%
female: 9.6% (2014 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Malta
conventional short form: Malta
local long form: Repubblika ta' Malta
local short form: Malta
etymology: the ancient Greeks called the island "Melite" meaning "honey-sweet" from the Greek word "meli" meaning "honey" and referring to the island's honey production

Government type

parliamentary republic


name: Valletta
geographic coordinates: 35 53 N, 14 30 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative divisions

68 localities (Il-lokalita); Attard, Balzan, Birgu, Birkirkara, Birzebbuga, Bormla, Dingli, Fgura, Floriana, Fontana, Ghajnsielem, Gharb, Gharghur, Ghasri, Ghaxaq, Gudja, Gzira, Hamrun, Iklin, Imdina, Imgarr, Imqabba, Imsida, Imtarfa, Isla, Kalkara, Kercem, Kirkop, Lija, Luqa, Marsa, Marsaskala, Marsaxlokk, Mellieha, Mosta, Munxar, Nadur, Naxxar, Paola, Pembroke, Pieta, Qala, Qormi, Qrendi, Rabat, Rabat (Ghawdex), Safi, San Giljan/Saint Julian, San Gwann/Saint John, San Lawrenz/Saint Lawrence, Sannat, San Pawl il-Bahar/Saint Paul's Bay, Santa Lucija/Saint Lucia, Santa Venera/Saint Venera, Siggiewi, Sliema, Swieqi, Tarxien, Ta' Xbiex, Valletta, Xaghra, Xewkija, Xghajra, Zabbar, Zebbug, Zebbug (Ghawdex), Zejtun, Zurrieq


21 September 1964 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 21 September (1964); Republic Day, 13 December (1974)


history: many previous; latest adopted 21 September 1964
amendments: proposals (Acts of Parliament) require at least two-thirds majority vote by the House of Representatives; passage of "Acts" requires majority vote by referendum, followed by final majority vote by the House of Representatives and assent by the president of the republic; amended many times, last in 2015 (2016)

Legal system

mixed legal system of English common law and civil law (based on the Roman and Napoleonic civil codes)

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Malta
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


18 years of age (16 in local council elections); universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Marie-Louise Coleiro PRECA (since 4 April 2014)
head of government: Prime Minister Joseph MUSCAT (since 11 March 2013)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister
elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by the House of Representatives for a 5-year term (1-term limit); election last held on 4 April 2014 (next to be held by April 2019); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the president for a 5-year term; deputy prime minister appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister
election results: Marie-Louise Coleiro PRECA (PL) elected president; House of Representatives vote - unanimous; Joseph MUSCAT (PL) appointed prime minister

Legislative branch

description: unicameral House of Representatives or Il-Kamra Tad-Deputati, a component of the Parliament of Malta (normally 65 seats, but can include at-large members; members directly elected in 5 multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms); note - the parliament elected in 2013 has 69 seats
elections: last held on 9 March 2013 (next to be held by mid-summer 2018)
election results: percent of vote by party - PL 54.8%, PN 43.3%, other 1.9%; seats by party - PL 39, PN 30

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of either 1 or 3 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 3 judges); Court of Criminal Appeal (consists of either 1 or 3 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal and Constitutional Court judges appointed by the president, usually upon the advice of the prime minister; judges of both courts serve until age 65
subordinate courts: Civil Court (divided into the General Jurisdiction Section, Family Section, and Voluntary Section); Criminal Court; Court of Magistrates; Gozo Courts (for the islands of Gozo and Comino}

Political parties and leaders

Alternattiva Demokratika or AD (Green Party) [Arnold CASSOLA]
Labor Party or PL [Joseph MUSCAT]
Nationalist Party or PN [Simon BUSUTTIL]

Political pressure groups and leaders

Alliance of Liberal Democrats Malta (Alleanza Liberali-Demokratika Malta) or ALDM (for divorce, abortion, gay marriage, women's rights)
Alliance for Change (Alleanza Bidla) (Euros-septic)
Together for a Better Environment (Flimkien Ghal-Ambjent Ahjar) or FAA (pro-environment)

other: environmentalists

International organization participation

Australia Group, C, CD, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EMU, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina (observer), UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Pierre Clive AGIUS (since 2 March 2016)
chancery: 2017 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 462-3611 through 3612
FAX: [1] (202) 387-5470

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador G. Kathleen HILL (since 25 February 2016)
embassy: Ta' Qali National Park, Attard, ATD 4000
mailing address: 5800 Valletta Place, Dulles, VA 20189
telephone: [356] 2561 4000
FAX: [356] 2124 3229

Flag description

two equal vertical bands of white (hoist side) and red; in the upper hoist-side corner is a representation of the George Cross, edged in red; according to legend, the colors are taken from the red and white checkered banner of Count Roger of Sicily who removed a bi-colored corner and granted it to Malta in 1091; an uncontested explanation is that the colors are those of the Knights of Saint John who ruled Malta from 1530 to 1798; in 1942, King George VI of the UK awarded the George Cross to the islanders for their exceptional bravery and gallantry in World War II; since independence in 1964, the George Cross bordered in red has appeared directly on the white field

National symbol(s)

Maltese eight-pointed cross; national colors: red, white

National anthem

name: "L-Innu Malti" (The Maltese Anthem)
lyrics/music: Dun Karm PSAILA/Robert SAMMUT
note: adopted 1945; written in the form of a prayer


GDP (official exchange rate)

$10.46 billion (2015 est.)

Economy - overview

Malta - the smallest economy in the euro zone - produces only about 20% of its food needs, has limited fresh water supplies, and has few domestic energy sources. Malta's economy is dependent on foreign trade, manufacturing, and tourism. Malta joined the E

Malta has weathered the euro-zone crisis better than most EU member states due to a low debt-to-GDP ratio and financially sound banking sector. It has low unemployment relative to other European countries, and growth has recovered since the 2009 recession

Malta’s services sector continued to grow in 2015, with noted increases in the financial services and online gaming sectors. Malta continues to enhance its regulation of the financial services sector, and passed additional legislation in 2014 and 2015 to

Malta’s 2015-16 GDP growth was bolstered by energy infrastructure investments, and revenue growth is expected to continue, supported by a strong labor market and proceeds from a citizenship by investment program equal to roughly 0.9% of GDP. Malta's geogr

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$16.32 billion (2016 est.)
$15.68 billion (2015 est.)
$14.77 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP - real growth rate

4.1% (2016 est.)
6.2% (2015 est.)
3.5% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$37,900 (2016 est.)
$36,500 (2015 est.)
$34,700 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

Gross national saving

31.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
34.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
21.8% of GDP (2014 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 52.4%
government consumption: 19.5%
investment in fixed capital: 24.6%
investment in inventories: 0.4%
exports of goods and services: 135.6%
imports of goods and services: -132.5% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.4%
industry: 11.4%
services: 87.2% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

potatoes, cauliflower, grapes, wheat, barley, tomatoes, citrus, cut flowers, green peppers; pork, milk, poultry, eggs


tourism, electronics, ship building and repair, construction, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, footwear, clothing, tobacco, aviation services, financial services, information technology services

Industrial production growth rate

5.9% (2015)

Labor force

201,600 (2016 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 1.7%
industry: 18.3%
services: 80% (2015)

Unemployment rate

4.6% (2016 est.)
5.4% (2015 est.)

Population below poverty line

15.9% (2014 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Distribution of family income - Gini index

27.7 (2014)
27.9 (2013)


revenues: $4.288 billion
expenditures: $4.401 billion (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

41% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-1.1% of GDP (2016 est.)

Public debt

62.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
63.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
note: Malta reports public debt at nominal value outstanding at the end of the year, according to guidelines set out in the Maastricht Treaty for general government gross debt; the data include the following categories of government liabilities (as defined in E

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.3% (2016 est.)
1.1% (2015 est.)

Central bank discount rate

-0.21% (31 December 2015)
-0.09% (31 December 2013)
note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area

Commercial bank prime lending rate

2.9% (31 December 2016 est.)
3.4% (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$14.2 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$12.87 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
note: see entry for the EU for money supply for the entire euro area; the European Central Bank controls monetary policy for the 18 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating

Stock of broad money

$18.31 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$17.36 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$18.28 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$17.58 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$4.405 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$3.642 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$4.249 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Current account balance

$653 million (2016 est.)
$962 million (2015 est.)


$2.915 billion (2016 est.)
$2.956 billion (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities

machinery and mechanical appliances; mineral fuels, oils and petroleum products; pharmaceutical products; books and newspapers; aircraft/spacecraft and parts; toys, games, and sports equipment

Exports - partners

Germany 13.3%, France 10.2%, Hong Kong 7.4%, Singapore 7.3%, UK 6.4%, US 5.8%, Italy 5.6%, Japan 4.7% (2015)


$4.479 billion (2016 est.)
$4.603 billion (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities

mineral fuels, oils and products; electrical machinery; aircraft/spacecraft and parts thereof; machinery and mechanical appliances; plastic and other semi-manufactured goods; vehicles and parts

Imports - partners

Italy 23%, Netherlands 8.4%, UK 7.5%, Germany 6.8%, Canada 6.1%, China 4.1%, France 4% (2015)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$537.7 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$571.7 million (31 December 2015 est.)

Debt - external

$97.35 billion (31 March 2016 est.)
$104.4 billion (31 March 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

$164.4 billion (30 June 2015 est.)
$158.7 billion (December 31, 2014 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

$69.09 billion (31 June 2015 est.)
$67.32 billion (30 December 2014 est.)

Exchange rates

euros (EUR) per US dollar -
0.9214 (2016 est.)
0.885 (2015 est.)
0.885 (2014 est.)
0.7634 (2013 est.)
0.78 (2012 est.)


Electricity - access

electrification - total population: 100% (2016)

Electricity - production

2.17 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

2 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

620,000 kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

91.7% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

8.3% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)

Crude oil - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - imports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

41,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

2,930 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

44,840 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production

0 cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

0 cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports

0 cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - imports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

1.457 million Mt (2014 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 230,226
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 56 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 558,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 135 (July 2015 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: automatic system featuring submarine cable and microwave radio relay between islands
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular subscribership exceeds 190 per 100 persons
international: country code - 356; submarine cable connects to Italy; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2015)

Broadcast media

2 publicly owned TV stations, Television Malta broadcasting nationally plus an educational channel; several privately owned national television stations, two of which are owned by political parties; Italian and British broadcast programs are available; mu (2016)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 315,000
percent of population: 76.2% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 9
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 28
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 1,583,046
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 3.352 million mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

9H (2016)


1 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2013)


2 (2013)


total: 3,096 km
paved: 2,704 km
unpaved: 392 km (2008)

Merchant marine

total: 1,650
by type: bulk carrier 544, cargo 351, carrier 1, chemical tanker 324, container 117, liquefied gas 36, passenger 50, passenger/cargo 18, petroleum tanker 160, refrigerated cargo 7, roll on/roll off 22, specialized tanker 2, vehicle carrier 18
foreign-owned: 1,437 (Angola 7, Azerbaijan 1, Belgium 7, Bermuda 15, Bulgaria 8, Canada 5, China 6, Croatia 6, Cyprus 32, Denmark 34, Egypt 1, Estonia 16, Finland 3, France 8, Germany 135, Greece 469, Hong Kong 4, India 3, Iran 48, Ireland 4, Israel 3, Italy 45, Japan 5, Kuw
registered in other countries: 2 (Panama 2) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Marsaxlokk (Malta Freeport), Valletta
container port(s) (TEUs): Marsaxlokk (2,360,000)


Military branches

Armed Forces of Malta (AFM; includes land, maritime, and air elements) (2013)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2014)

Military expenditures

0.61% of GDP (2013)
0.61% of GDP (2012)
0.61% of GDP (2011)
0.61% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international


Illicit drugs

minor transshipment point for hashish from North Africa to Western Europe