Malta

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Great Britain formally acquired possession of 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.

Geography

Location

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

Geographic coordinates

35.50° N, 14.35° E

Area 208/257

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

Coastline

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

Climate

Mediterranean; mild, rainy winters; hot, dry summers

Terrain

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

Elevation

mean elevation:

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)

Total renewable water resources

0.05 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 0.05 cu km/yr (64%/1%/35%)

per capita: 134.1 cu m/yr (2009)

Natural hazards

NA

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) being 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

Nationality

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)

Languages

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

Religions

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

Population 176/238

413,965 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 15.05% (male 31,943/female 30,341)

15-24 years: 12.22% (male 26,028/female 24,570)

25-54 years: 40.24% (male 85,145/female 81,447)

55-64 years: 13.98% (male 28,702/female 29,185)

65 years and over: 18.5% (male 34,345/female 42,259) (2015 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: 41.2 years

male: 40 years

female: 42.4 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 174/233

0.31% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 192/224

10.18 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 66/225

9.09 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 51/222

1.98 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

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 (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

26.9

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

Maternal mortality rate 161/184

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

Infant mortality rate 203/224

total: 3.56 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 3.97 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.14 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 36/224

total population: 80.25 years

male: 77.92 years

female: 82.71 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 190/224

1.54 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Health expenditures 36/191

8.7% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

3.49 physicians/1,000 population (2013)

Hospital bed density

4.8 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved:

urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved:

urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths

NA

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 32/191

28.7% (2014)

Education expenditures 23/173

8% of GDP (2011)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 14 years

male: 14 years

female: 15 years (2012)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 82/134

total: 13%

male: 15.2%

female: 10.4% (2013 est.)

Government

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

republic

Capital

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

Independence

21 September 1964 (from the UK)

National holiday

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

Constitution

many previous; latest adopted 21 September 1964; amended many times, last in 2014 (2015)

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

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

Suffrage

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

Alternativa 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

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 United Kingdom 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

Economy

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 adopted the euro on 1 January 2008.

Malta has weathered the Eurozone 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. In 2014 and 2015, Malta led the Eurozone in growth, expanding by nearly 3.5% each year. Also in 2014, the government began promoting public-private partnerships in the healthcare sector to establish Malta as a Mediterranean health hub for medical tourism, reduced residential and commercial energy tariffs by 25%, and implemented a citizenship purchase program to increase government revenue and attract foreign investors.

Malta's geographic position between Europe and North Africa makes it a target for irregular migration, which has strained Malta's political and economic resources. Malta's fertility rate is below the EU average, and population growth in recent years has largely been from immigration, putting increasing pressure on the pension system. The government has implemented new programs, including free child care, to encourage increased labor participation. The high cost of borrowing and small labor market present potential constraints to future economic growth.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 154/230

$14.75 billion (2015 est.)

$14.26 billion (2014 est.)

$13.78 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$9.19 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 88/225

3.4% (2015 est.)

3.5% (2014 est.)

2.4% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 52/230

$34,700 (2015 est.)

$33,500 (2014 est.)

$32,400 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2012 US dollars

Gross national saving 82/179

20.6% of GDP (2015 est.)

21% of GDP (2014 est.)

21.3% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 53.6%

government consumption: 20.3%

investment in fixed capital: 20%

investment in inventories: -0.4%

exports of goods and services: 139.1%

imports of goods and services: -132.6%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.7%

industry: 12.8%

services: 85.5% (2013 est.)

Agriculture - products

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

Industries

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 186/202

-3.6% (2014)

Labor force 171/233

197,600 (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 1.5%

industry: 25.7%

services: 72.8% (2014)

Unemployment rate 60/207

5.4% (2015 est.)

5.9% (2014 est.)

Population below poverty line

15.7% (2013 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Distribution of family income - Gini index 129/144

27.9 (2013)

27.1 (2012)

Budget

revenues: $4.031 billion

expenditures: $4.212 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 30/219

43.9% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 73/220

-2% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 50/176

67.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

68.2% of GDP (2014 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 ESA95): currency and deposits (AF.2), securities other than shares excluding financial derivatives (AF.3, excluding AF.34), and loans (AF.4); general government comprises the central government, state government, local government and social security funds

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 76/226

1.2% (2015 est.)

0.3% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 145/156

0.05% (31 December 2014)

0.25% (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 162/184

3.6% (31 December 2015 est.)

4% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 96/192

$5.257 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$5.44 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

note: see entry for the European Union for money supply for the entire euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) 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 within their own borders

Stock of broad money 98/193

$12.94 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$13.24 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 96/191

$12.97 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$13.38 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares 92/121

$3.631 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

$3.424 billion (31 December 2011)

$2.399 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Current account balance 47/197

$142 million (2015 est.)

$348 million (2014 est.)

Exports 129/224

$2.817 billion (2015 est.)

$3.467 billion (2014 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 20.1%, France 12.8%, Italy 9.3%, Libya 6.7%, UK 6.6% (2014)

Imports 133/223

$4.032 billion (2015 est.)

$4.921 billion (2014 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 22.8%, US 8.6%, UK 7.4%, Germany 5.9%, Canada 5.6%, Spain 4.6%, Netherlands 4.5%, France 4.4% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 147/170

$556.3 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$619.2 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 48/206

$122.8 billion (30 December 2014 est.)

$117.2 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 60/120

$47.34 billion (31 June 2014)

$46.35 billion (31 December 2013)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 27/105

$177.6 billion (31 June 2014 est.)

$181.7 billion (31 December 2013)

Exchange rates

euros (EUR) per US dollar -

0.89 (2015 est.)

0.75 (2014 est.)

0.76 (2013 est.)

0.78 (2012 est.)

0.72 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 136/220

2.17 billion kWh (2014)

Electricity - consumption 142/219

2.061 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports 171/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 177/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 134/214

653,200 kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 71/214

91.7% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 145/214

0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 187/214

0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 46/212

8.3% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)

Crude oil - production 170/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 164/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - imports 100/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 170/215

0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 214/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 105/212

42,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 79/214

14,410 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 91/213

36,480 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production 106/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 174/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 150/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 103/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 173/212

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 153/212

1.697 million Mt (2013 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 126/219

total subscriptions: 230,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 56 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 169/217

total: 546,200

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 132 (2014 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 180 per 100 persons

international: country code - 356; submarine cable connects to Italy; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2011)

Broadcast media

2 publicly owned TV stations, Television Malta (TVM) 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; multi-channel cable and satellite TV services are available; publicly owned radio broadcaster operates 1 station; roughly 20 commercial radio stations (2011)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 1, FM 18, shortwave 6 (1999)

Television broadcast stations

6 (2009)

Internet country code

.mt

Internet hosts 125/232

14,754 (2012)

Internet users 160/217

total: 166,000

percent of population: 40.2% (2014 est.)

Transportation

Airports 225/236

1 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 1

over 3,047 m: 1 (2013)

Heliports

2 (2013)

Roadways 165/223

total: 3,096 km

paved: 2,704 km

unpaved: 392 km (2008)

Merchant marine 4/156

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, Kuwait 3, Latvia 8, Lebanon 6, Libya 5, Luxembourg 3, Malaysia 1, Monaco 3, Netherlands 3, Norway 96, Oman 5, Poland 21, Portugal 3, Romania 7, Russia 45, Saudi Arabia 2, Singapore 4, Slovenia 4, South Korea 2, Spain 8, Sweden 1, Switzerland 20, Syria 4, Turkey 233, UAE 1, UK 21, Ukraine 29, US 34)

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 and Security

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 122/132

0.61% of GDP (2013)

0.61% of GDP (2012)

0.61% of GDP (2011)

0.61% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

none

Illicit drugs

minor transshipment point for hashish from North Africa to Western Europe