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

Geographic Coordinates:

 35 50 N, 14 35 E


 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 56.01 km for the island of Gozo) (Rank: 141)

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

Elevation Extremes:

 Lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
Highest point: Ta'Dmejrek 253 m (near Dingli)

Natural Resources:

 Limestone, salt, arable land

Land Use:

 Arable land: 31.25%
Permanent crops: 3.13%
Other: 65.62% (2005)

Irrigated Land:

 32 sq km (2008)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 0.07 cu km (2005)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 Total: 0.02 cu km/yr (74%/1%/25%)
Per capita: 50 cu m/yr (2000)

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

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 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) 90.2%, English (official) 6%, multilingual 3%, other 0.8% (2005 census)


 Roman Catholic (official) 98%


 408,333 (July 2011 est.)

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 15.7% (male 32,829/female 31,198)
15-64 years: 68.5% (male 142,006/female 137,803)
65 years and over: 15.8% (male 28,305/female 36,192) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 40 years
Male: 38.8 years
Female: 41.4 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 0.375% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 10.35 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 8.6 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 2.01 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 95% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 0.5% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 VALLETTA (capital) 199,000 (2009)

Sex Ratio:

 At birth: 1.058 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 8 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 3.69 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 4.12 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 3.22 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 79.72 years
Male: 77.45 years
Female: 82.12 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 1.52 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 16.5% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 3.073 physicians/1,000 population (2009)

Hospital Bed Density:

 4.88 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 100% of population
Rural: 100% of population
Total: 100% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 100% of population
Rural: 100% of population
Total: 100% of population (2008)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 0.1% (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 Fewer than 500 (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - Deaths:

 Fewer than 100 (2009 est.)

Obesity - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 20.7% (2007)

Education Expenditures:

 6.4% of GDP (2007)


 Definition: age 10 and over can read and write
Total population: 92.8%
Male: 91.7%
Female: 93.9% (2005 Census)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 14 years
Male: 14 years
Female: 15 years (2008)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24:

 Total: 13.3%
Male: 17.7%
Female: 15.4% (2009)

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Country Name:

 Conventional long form: Republic of Malta
Conventional short form: Malta
Local long form: Repubblika ta' Malta
Local short form: Malta

Government Type:



 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:

 None (administered directly from Valletta); note - local councils carry out administrative orders and have some responsibility for local road and other public maintenance


 21 September 1964 (from the UK)

National Holiday:

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


 1964; amended many times

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


 18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch:

 Chief of state: President George ABELA (since 4 April 2009)

Head of government: Prime Minister Lawrence GONZI (since 23 March 2004)

Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister

Elections: president elected by a resolution of the House of Representatives for a five-year term; election last held on 12 January 2009 (next to be held by April 2014); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the president for a five-year term; the deputy prime minister appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister

Election results: George ABELA elected president by the House of Representatives

Legislative Branch:

 Unicameral House of Representatives (normally 65 seats; members are elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation by the Single Transferrable Vote (STV) to serve five-year terms; note - the parliament elected in 2008 is composed of 69 seats; when the political party winning an absolute majority of first-count votes (or a plurality of first-count votes in an election where only two parties are represented in parliament) does not win an absolute majority of seats, the constitution provides for the winning party to be awarded additional number of seats in parliament to guarantee it an absolute majority; in the event that more than two parties are repressented in parliament, with none acquiring the absolute majority of votes, the party winning the majority of seats prevails

Elections: last held on 8 March 2008 (next to be held by March 2013)

Election results: percent of vote by party - PN 49.3%, PL 48.8%, other 1.9%; seats by party - PN 35, PL 34

Judicial Branch:

 Constitutional Court; Court of First Instance; Court of Appeal

Note: magistrates and judges for the courts are appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister

Political Parties and Leaders:

 Alternativa Demokratika/Alliance for Social Justice or AD [Michael BRIGUGLIO]; Labor Party or PL [Joseph MUSCAT]; Nationalist Party or PN [Lawrence GONZI]; The Malta Communist Party [Victor DEGIOVANNI]

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders:

 Alleanza Liberal-Demokratika Maltra or ALDM (for divorce, abortion, gay marriage, the rights existent in other EU member states); Alleanza Nazzionali Repubblikana or ANR (for traditional values, anti-immigration); Alternattiva Demokratika (pro-environment); Flimkien Ghal-Ambjent Ahjar (pro-environment); Ghazda tal-Konsumaturi (consumer rights)
Other: environmentalists

International Organization Participation:

 Australia Group, C, CE, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, 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 (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Dennis GRECH
Chancery: 2017 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Telephone: [1] (202) 462-3611 through 3612
FAX: [1] (202) 387-5470
Consulate(s): New York

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Douglas W. KMIEC
Embassy: 3rd Floor, Development House, Saint Anne Street, Floriana, FRN 9010
Mailing address: P. O. Box 535, Valletta, VLT1000
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 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 Symbols:

 Maltese cross

National Anthem:

 Name: "L-Innu Malti" (The Maltese Anthem)
Lyrics/music: Dun Karm PSAILA/Robert SAMMUT

Note: adopted 1945; the anthem is written in the form of a prayer

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Economy - Overview:

 Malta produces only about 20% of its food needs, has limited fresh water supplies, and has few domestic energy sources. Malta's geographic position between the EU and Africa makes it a target for illegal immigration, which has strained Malta's political and economic resources. Malta adopted the euro on 1 January 2008. Malta's financial services industry has grown in recent years and in 2008-09 it escaped significant damage from the international financial crisis, largely because the sector is centered on the indigenous real estate market and is not highly leveraged. Locally, the restricted damage from the financial crisis has been attributed to the stability of the Maltese banking system and to its prudent risk-management practices. The global economic downturn and high electricity and water prices hurt Malta's real economy, which is dependent on foreign trade, manufacturing - especially electronics and pharmaceuticals - and tourism, but growth bounced back as the global economy recovered in 2010. Following a 1.2% contraction in 2009, GDP grew 2% in 2010. In early 2011, the EU ended excessive deficit procedures against Malta, after Malta had taken measures to correct an excessive deficit in 2010 and appeared likely to reach its deficit target of 2.8% of GDP in 2011.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $10.41 billion (2010 est.)
$10.04 billion (2009 est.)
$10.39 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $8.288 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 3.7% (2010 est.)
-3.4% (2009 est.)
5.3% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $25,600 (2010 est.)
$24,800 (2009 est.)
$25,800 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 1.9%
Industry: 17.2%
Services: 80.9% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 265,200 (2010 est.)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: 1.3%
Industry: 24.8%
Services: 73.9% (2010)

Unemployment Rate:

 6.9% (2010 est.)
7% (2009 est.)

Population Below Poverty Line:


Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: NA%
Highest 10%: NA%

Distribution of Family Income - Gini Index:

 26 (2007)

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 16.2% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $3.207 billion
Expenditures: $3.507 billion (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 38.7% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -3.6% of GDP (2010 est.)

Public Debt:

 67.8% of GDP (2010 est.)
67% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 1.5% (2010 est.)
2.1% (2009 est.)

Central Bank Discount Rate:

 1.75% (31 December 2010 est.)
1.75% (31 December 2009)

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:

 4.617% (31 December 2010 est.)
4.492% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $4.639 billion (31 January 2008)
$4.603 billion (31 December 2007)

Note: this figure represents the US dollar value of Maltese liri in circulation prior to Malta joining the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); see entry for the European Union for money supply in the euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 16 members of the EMU; individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money and quasi money circulating within their own borders

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $8.771 billion (31 January 2008 est.)
$7.645 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $5.109 billion (31 December 2010)
$5.283 billion (31 December 2009)

Note: see entry for the European Union for money supply in the euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 17 members of the EMU; individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders

Stock of Broad Money:

 $12.5 billion (31 December 2010)
$12.94 billion (31 December 2009)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $18.66 billion (31 December 2010)
$20.4 billion (31 December 2009)

Market Value of Publicly Traded Shares:

 $2.399 billion (31 December 2010)
$1.982 billion (31 December 2009)
$3.572 billion (31 December 2008)

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:


Electricity - Production:

 2.113 billion kWh (2010)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 100%
Hydro: 0%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 1.991 billion kWh (2010)

Electricity - Exports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - Production:

 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 19,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 18,420 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 -$361.5 million (2010 est.)
-$601 million (2009 est.)


 $3.088 billion (2010)
$2.427 billion (2009)

Exports - Commodities:

 Electrical machinery, mechanical appliances, fish and crustaceans, pharmaceutical products, printed material

Exports - Partners:

 Germany 18.4%, France 15.7%, UK 9.1%, Italy 6.6%, Libya 6%, US 5.7% (2010)


 $4.317 billion (2010 est.)
$3.798 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Mineral fuels and oils, electrical machinery, non-electrical machinery, aircraft and other transport equipment, plastic and other semi-manufactured goods; food, drink, tobacco

Imports - Partners:

 Italy 24.1%, UK 8.6%, Germany 8.5%, France 8.2%, Singapore 4.1% (2010)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $540.2 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$538.6 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $48.79 billion (30 June 2011)
$5.978 billion (31 December 2010)

Stock of Direct Foreign Investment - Abroad:

 $1.213 billion (2010 est.)

Stock of Direct Foreign Investment - At Home:

 $16.63 billion (31 December 2010)
$8.24 billion (31 December 2009)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Euro to Any Currency

Euros (EUR) per US dollar -
0.755 (2010)
0.72 (2009)
0.6827 (2008)

Note: on 1 January 2008 Malta adopted the euro as legal tender

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 247,300 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 455,400 (2010)

Telephone System:

 General assessment: automatic system featuring submarine cable and microwave radio relay between islands

Domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular subscribership exceeds 165 per 100 persons

International: country code - 356; submarine cable connects to Italy; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2008)

Broadcast Media:

 2 publicly-owned television stations, Television Malta (TVM) broadcasting nationally and 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 obtainable; publicly-owned radio broadcaster operates 1 station; roughly 20 commercial radio stations operating (2011)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 1, FM 18, shortwave 6 (1999)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 6 (2009)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 24,941 (2010)

Internet Users:

 240,600 (2009)

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 1 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 1
Over 3,047 m: 1 (2010)


 Total: 3,096 km
Paved: 2,710 km
Unpaved: 386 km (2008)

Merchant Marine:

 Total: 1,571
By type: bulk carrier 522, cargo 377, carrier 1, chemical tanker 280, container 91, liquefied gas 31, passenger 45, passenger/cargo 22, petroleum tanker 141, refrigerated cargo 14, roll on/roll off 30, specialized tanker 2, vehicle carrier 15
Foreign-owned: 1,401 (Angola 7, Austria 1, Azerbaijan 1, Bahamas 1, Bangladesh 1, Belgium 14, Bermuda 8, Bulgaria 7, Canada 1, China 11, Croatia 7, Cyprus 29, Denmark 41, Egypt 1, Estonia 16, Finland 2, France 13, Germany 127, Greece 458, Hong Kong 2, India 4, Iran 56, Ireland 1, Israel 5, Italy 52, Japan 5, Kuwait 2, Latvia 11, Lebanon 7, Libya 4, Luxembourg 3, Malaysia 1, Netherlands 2, Nigeria 1, Norway 84, Poland 22, Portugal 3, Romania 8, Russia 47, Singapore 3, Slovenia 4, South Korea 3, Spain 10, Sweden 3, Switzerland 14, Syria 5, Turkey 211, UAE 1, UK 16, Ukraine 30, US 35)

Note: this country allows large numbers of ships owned by foreign entities to be registered in its national shipping registry and to fly its flag; these ships operate under the laws of the flag state
Registered in other countries: 2 (Panama 2) (2010)

Ports and Terminals:

 Marsaxlokk (Malta Freeport), Valletta

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Military Branches:

 Armed Forces of Malta (AFM; includes air and maritime elements) (2010)

Military Service Age and Obligation:

 17 years 6 months of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2010)

Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 95,499
Females age 16-49: 90,919 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 79,645
Females age 16-49: 75,684 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 2,554
Female: 2,385 (2010 est.)

Military Expenditures:

 0.7% of GDP (2006 est.)

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Illicit Drugs:

 Minor transshipment point for hashish from North Africa to Western Europe

Trafficking in Persons:

 Current situation: Malta is a source and destination country for European women and children subjected to sex trafficking; Malta is likely a destination country for men and women subjected to forced labor, including in restaurants, private households, and in unskilled or semi-skilled labor; Malta may be a transit country for African women subjected to sex trafficking in continental Europe

Tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - the government demonstrated greater commitment to combat trafficking through national coordination by appointing the country's first anti-trafficking coordinator and anti-trafficking monitoring board; these measures, however, have not yet resulted in concrete improvements to victim identification procedures, victim care systems, effective investigations and prosecutions of trafficking offenders, or targeted prevention activities; victims of trafficking were punished for acts committed during the course of trafficking or deported without proper victim identification (2011)

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Last Updated: December 2011

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