Maltese Culture


Many Maltese place a high value on their family, which is evident through the close connections people maintain with family members. For example, children tend to stay in the family home until they marry. Parents will often help their children acquire a house or a car. Children also tend to stay in close contact with their grandparents. Evening time, particularly dinner, is usually spent with the immediate family. Maltese will go to various lengths to maintain harmonious family connections. At times, couples may tone down their expression of anger at each other because the needs of the partner and those of the family are taken into consideration. However, the traditional household structure is undergoing change, with single-parent families becoming more common.

The extended family is considered to be very important. Often, the extended family will come together to celebrate events such as the village festa or milestone birthdays. Family connections are maintained through both sides of the family, but there is a tendency for Maltese to have close emotional ties and frequent contact with the maternal side. After a mother passes away, sibling relationships may become less close. Matrilocal residence, or living with or near the wife’s family, is more common than patrilocal residence. It is common for elderly parents or grandparents with living children to reside in aged care homes. This is in part due to the demands of the modern economy, meaning that it is difficult for people to become full-time carers for family members.

Gender Roles

Traditionally, Malta was a patriarchal society. This is still the case today, but women have gained more prominence throughout society. Men are generally expected to be the principal providers for their family, while women are expected to take care of the household and children. Yet, it is becoming more common to find women in senior management positions. Both genders have equal rights in employment under the Constitution, with all professions being open to both women and men. Ultimately, women are considered to be equal to men but are expected to honour their husband.

Dating and Marriage

Dating usually begins during teenage years. Marriage usually takes place once the couple have saved enough money to live independently from their families. Most couples do not live together before marriage. Many status considerations come into play when considering marriage, as it is viewed as an opportunity for two families to establish ties. Weddings are considered to be major events that generally involve a Mass followed by a lavish feast. Generally, the bride’s parents pay for the wedding expenses.

Expectations and practices of marriage are somewhat informed by the Catholic Church. Marriage is understood as a milestone and it is expected that individuals will one day marry a suitable partner. The unity of family and the need to preserve the couple as a permanent relationship continue to be important values despite different trends in Europe. However, it seems that the Maltese population is slowly becoming more cosmopolitan, as suggested by the fact that about 10% of marriages in Malta are between a Maltese spouse and a foreigner.

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  • Population
    [July 2016 est.]
  • Language
    Maltese (official) (90.1%)
    English (official) (6.0%)
    Other (0.9%)
    [2005 est.]
  • Religion
    Roman Catholic Christianity (official)
  • Ethnicity
  • Cultural Dimensions
  • Australians with Maltese Ancestry
    175,555 [Census, 2016]
Maltese in Australia
  • Population
    [Census, 2016]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in Malta.
  • Median Age
    [Census, 2016]
  • Gender
    Male (50.2%)
    Female (49.8%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Religion
    Roman Catholic Christianity (89.0%)
    No Religion (4.4%)
    Other Religion (3.8%)
    Not Stated (2.6%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Ancestry
    Maltese (86.1%)
    English (6.9%)
    Australian (1.6%)
    Italian (1.6%)
    Other Ancestry (3.7%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Language Spoken at Home
    Maltese (55.2%)
    English (42.7%)
    Italian (0.5%)
    Mandarin (0.2%)
    Other Languages (0.4%)
    Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 89.4% speak English fluently.
    [Census, 2016]
  • Diaspora
    Victoria (47.5%)
    New South Wales (38.5%)
    Queensland (6.7%)
    South Australia (3.8%)
    Other (3.5%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2007 (94.4%)
    2007 - 2011 (1.0%)
    2012 - 2016 (0.6%)
    [Census, 2016]
Country Flag Country Malta