3.9 Summary

The demographic data summarised above demonstrate that the Malta-born population in Australia reached peak of just over 58,000 in 1981 and has been declining since. This is the result of a much migrant intake, increased numbers of migrants returning back home to retire, as well as to natural decrease through ageing and death.

Maltese migrants, more than most ethnic groups, are characterised by a sharp cohort with marked truncation at the lower end of the age scale: the proportion of Maltese-born under the age of 25 is one of the lowest of all lethnic groups, reflecting the much reduced intake of new migrants. Like other ethnic groups, the Maltese- born community in Australia is ageing faster than the average community, with about 20% at the population being over the age of 60 years.

To some extent this is offset by the relatively large size of Maltese families: the fertility rate is still one of the highest of all ethnic groups.

Whether this will provide a nucleus that will persist as an identifiable Maltese community in the next generation will depend not only on the number of persons with a Maltese ethnic origin, but also on the maintenance of unique cultural characteristics associated with Malteseness. With the very pronounced intermarriage rates seen in the Maltese population, this is very much in doubt.

Source: Maurice N. Cauchi - Maltese Migrants in Australia, Malta 1990

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