A note about the Third Generation

When it comes to later generations, problems of definition become even more pronounced. The proportion of "pure" or "unmixed" Maltese, having all four grandparents of Maltese stock must be dwindling, and remains largely an unknown quantity, since census statistics do not give exact figures in this respect. Assessments of parentage have been made by Price in 1988, at which time the of persons of Maltese origin with "unmixed" blood was given as 3,650 or 3.4% of the total. More recent estimates are not available.

From the survey carried out (Cauchi, 1999) where a sample of 200 third generation persons were analysed, it resulted that most (63%) of these persons are still under the age of 10 years , and only 9 % were aged 25 and over (Fig 6.4). This means that these children are still largely within the education system. It is also likely that their education and career structure will converge more and more towards to the Australian norm.

It is of interest to note, however, that traces of Maltese language and culture are clearly evident even in this group. For instance up to 16% of 3rd generation persons (aged 5 and over) could speak some Maltese (5% were said to be able to speak it well). Moreover, more than one-third (37%) were said to be able to understand some Maltese, indicating that Maltese language survives even in this group whose only connection with Malta was the fact that one (or more) grandparent came from Malta.

Language is perhaps the most crucial, but not the only marker of culture retention. Unfortunately, it is more difficult to assess the degree of other aspects of culture maintenance, which would require specific prospective surveys.

Figure 6.4 - Age distribution of 3rd generation Maltese-background persons in Victoria

Figure 6.4 - Age distribution of 3rd generation Maltese-background persons in Victoria

Source: Maurice N.Cauchi - The Maltese Migrant Experience, Malta 1999

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