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THE MALTESE ISLANDS

Geographical Facts

(as at end-September 2003, unless otherwise indicated)


   

Geographic Location

Malta is located in the centre of the Mediterranean, 93 km to the south of Sicily and 290 km to the north of Africa, at the crossroads of Southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Its strategic location makes it an ideal launching pad to enter these markets. Most European and Middle Eastern capitals are between two and four hours flying time away.

The Islands

Malta is a small archipelago of islands consisting of Malta, Gozo, Comino and two uninhabited islands.

Capital City

Valletta

Area

316 km2

Climate

The archipelago enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot, dry summers.

Average temperature (1990-2002):

  • Dec - Feb 13.2°c

  • June - Aug 25.8°c

Average annual rainfall (1990 - 2002): 591.3mm

Infrastructure

Malta's infrastructure - air links, transport & logistics electricity grid, telecommunication systems - are of an international standard. The road network is extensive but in need of upgrading.

Countryside and agriculture

A rocky Mediterranean island with a dry and often windy climate, Malta's countryside offers a unique view of the resourceful character of the traditional islander. Tiny terraced fields have been carved out of any available agricultural land, supported by laboriously constructed rubble walls, and utilizing every available pocket of land, no matter how small. This delightful patchwork picture is enhanced by the wonderful play of colour and light…golden yellow limestone offset the deep russet soil, the perfect azure of sea and sky and varying hues of green from the ubiquitous olive and carob trees.

Natural resources

The island has no natural resources of its own, except for the honey coloured limestone the Maltase use for building their homes. Water is scarce, with annual rainfall averaging 578mm a year and the island's requirements are mainly met by the production of the various desalination plants installed around the island.

Population

With a population of 385, 000 Malta is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with an average population density of 1,200 people per square kilometre. Most Maltase live in the satellite towns around Valletta - Malta's capital and the country's political and commercial centre, Sliema and the Grand Harbour, and only 15% in rural areas. More than 95% of the population is Maltase born. Birkirkara, Hamrun, Sliema and the Harbour towns are the most densely populated of urban areas, though real estate prices indicate Sliema and St Julians are the more popular residential locations.

 

Total Maltase and Foreigners

398,985

 

Males
Females

197,734
201,251

 

Age composition in % of population (Dec. 2002)

 

 

0 - 19
20 - 59
60+

26%
57%
17%

 

Average annual growth rate (1990-2002)

0.8%

 

Density per km

1,263

 

 

 

>> The Maltase Islands: Facts and Statistics

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