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A South African's guide to moving to and making it in Malta: People who need people

One of the advantages of living on the other side of the equator to South Africa is that it gives you a different perspective - on everything! Just as the night sky occasions different names for constellations and astronomical phenomena according to which hemisphere you view them from, so I was led to look at a recent report about population density through the other end of the telescope.
© viewingmalta.com | Malta Tourism Authority


Atlasandboots.com did the heavy lifting in ranking 237 nations from least densely populated to most (table below). If you subscribe to Sartre’s dictum that hell is other people, then consider relocating to Antarctica, Greenland, Svalbard or the Falklands, as each of these boast a population density of less than 1 person per km2.

As a benchmark, South Africa sits at position #73 in terms of least densely populated, clocking in at 44.99 persons per km2.

Reading backwards


But when I flipped the list around to read it backwards, i.e. the most crowded places in the world, I found it made for much more interesting reading – and that Malta is one of the top 10 most densely populated countries on the map.

Starting with the least elbow-room, Macau has a staggering population density of 21,346.42 pax per km2. The next three positions went to Monaco (15,322.5), Singapore (8,188.16) and Hong Kong (6,490.53). Apart from not offering much room to swing a cat, these jurisdictions are notable for their high property prices, indicating some sort of demand-supply correlation.

MALTA

A South African's guide to moving to and making it in Malta: A cottage for sale

This month, a new report shows that Malta has edged out Hong Kong as the territory or country with the highest residential price gains. With such rampant development on the island, Malta's national bird should perhaps be... the crane?

By Marcus 'The Maltese Falcon' Brewster 21 Sep 2018


From the midway position in the top 10 most densely populated, we are under 5,000 people per km2, with positions #5, #6 and #7 going to surprise candidates Gaza Strip (4,986.62), Gibraltar (4,522.46) and the Holy See/Vatican City (2,272.73).

At position #8, Bahrain is sub-2,000 people with a density of 1,856.5 population per km2.

The next slots are both archipelagos with parity densities: at #9 the Maldives (1,317.82) and at #10 Malta (1,317.53). The island similarities continue with #11 being Bermuda (1,312.3).

Island sandwich


Much as it’s very seductive to picture Malta sandwiched between the Maldives and Bermuda (neither of which I visualise as being particularly crowded), the Maltese situation may be more open to interpretation than these rankings would suggest.

To whit: Malta has something called ODZ (Outside Development Zone) land. Unlike Monaco, which is unrelievedly high-rise apartment blocks, Malta has a lot of undeveloped land, which is mostly zoned for agriculture. Being an island nation, Malta historically had to be as self-sufficient as possible regarding food security, although nowadays we are a net importer.

I raise the issue of zoning because 70% of Malta is ODZ, meaning outside the town and villages, Malta is countryside. If you own a farm, you can’t just decide to build a shopping centre, a townhouse development or a petrol station!

(c) artesiawells - 123RF.com


The reference to petrol stations is not fatuous – there are about a dozen Planning Authority applications for large forecourts on ODZ land, which on paper make no sense to me.

As an example, an ODZ application on the outskirts of our village of Zejtun was refused last month.

Firstly, there are four existing fuel stations within one kilometre, so convenience or filling-a-gap-in-the-market is not a consideration.

Secondly, Malta is part of the EU, which has defined targets for the phasing out of emission producing engines and the adoption of cleaner/greener transport (electric cars, etc).

These would-be forecourt developers must have their eye on another prize altogether because within the next decade we won’t be permitted to drive cars that require filling up with petrol any longer.

Speed of change


In closing, we all know about the inevitability of change. But it’s somewhat sobering to be reminded of its speed.

It was put to me that it took up till 1950 to develop the first 10% of the Maltese islands.

By the year 2000 – within 50 years – Malta had reached 20% development.

The next 10% happened in a third of that time – in only 17 years Malta had achieved its 30% coverage rate.

Avanti!

7 of the 10 happiest countries in the world have fewer than 23 people per km2 | Atlasandboots.com

The least densely populated countries (and dependent territories) based on the number of people per km2, according to atlasandboots.com:

LEASTMOSTCOUNTRYPOPULATION DENSITY
1237Antarctica0
2236Greenland0.03
3235Svalbard0.04
4234Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)0.26
5233Pitcairn Islands1.15
6232Mongolia1.96
7231Western Sahara2.27
8230Australia3
9229Namibia3.01
10228Iceland3.3
11227Guyana3.43
12226Canada3.57
13225Suriname3.61
14224Mauritania3.65
15223Libya3.78
16222Botswana3.81
17221Niue6.22
18220Gabon6.62
19219Kazakhstan6.81
20218Russia8.32
21217Central African Republic9.03
22216Chad9.4
23215Bolivia10.14
24214Turkmenistan10.96
25213Oman11.06
26212Saudi Arabia13.29
27211Mali14.42
28210Congo, Republic of the14.49
29209Papua New Guinea14.93
30208New Caledonia15.02
31207Niger15.19
32206Belize15.69
33205Argentina15.93
34204Finland16.32
35203Christmas Island16.33
36202Norway16.43
37201New Zealand16.78
38200Paraguay17.07
39199Algeria17.2
40198Somalia17.3
41197Uruguay19.07
42196Bhutan19.75
43195Saint Helena19.87
44194Sudan20.06
45193South Sudan20.22
46192Sweden22.12
47191Solomon Islands22.41
48190Saint Pierre and Miquelon22.86
49189Vanuatu23.2
50188Angola23.51
51187Chile23.53
52186Bahamas, The23.77
53185Peru24.15
54184Brazil24.35
55183Estonia27.67
56182Equatorial Guinea27.75
57181Kyrgyzstan28.95
58180Laos30.1
59179Latvia30.11
60178United States33.22
61177Mozambique33.24
62176Venezuela34.32
63175Zimbabwe35.33
64174Congo, Democratic Republic of the35.53
65173Faroe Islands36.42
66172Djibouti37.3
67171Cook Islands39.36
68170Colombia41.88
69169Liberia42.1
70168Cocos (Keeling) Islands42.57
71167Madagascar42.68
72166Lithuania43.24
73165South Africa44.99
74164Belarus46
75163Nicaragua46.22
76162Montenegro46.52
77161Palau46.69
78160Norfolk Island48.56
79159Guinea-Bissau49.61
80158Panama49.76
81157Iran49.76
82156Eritrea50.33
83155Fiji50.4
84154Guinea50.49
85153Montserrat51.88
86152Afghanistan52.32
87151Cameroon52.57
88150Yemen53.1
89149Turks and Caicos Islands55.45
90148Virgin Islands56.16
91147Tanzania56.95
92146Ecuador57.45
93145Tajikistan58.77
94144Mexico63.42
95143Bulgaria64.05
96142Lesotho64.5
97141Uzbekistan66.49
98140French Polynesia69.09
99139Tunisia69.7
100138Georgia70.68
101137Samoa70.68
102136Ireland71.31
103135United Arab Emirates72.64
104134Ukraine72.96
105133Burkina Faso73.33
106132Senegal74.56
107131Cote d'Ivoire75
108130Bosnia and Herzegovina75.32
109129Croatia75.84
110128Morocco76.11
111127Brunei76.95
112126Honduras80.64
113125Burma81.47
114124Greece81.61
115123Macedonia81.82
116122Kenya82.04
117121Swaziland84.49
118120Sierra Leone85.91
119119East Timor86.82
120118Iraq89.41
121117Cambodia89.51
122116Romania90.31
123115Serbia91.79
124114Malaysia95.14
125113Ethiopia95.4
126112Costa Rica96.48
127111Spain96.88
128110Egypt96.9
129109Slovenia97.28
130108Syria97.36
131107Benin98.02
132106Dominica98.4
133105Cuba100.55
134104Armenia102.38
135103Moldova102.63
136102Turkey103.18
137101France104.23
138100Austria104.38
13999Hungary105.89
14098Albania106.02
14197Tokelau107.08
14296Wallis and Futuna110.66
14395Slovakia111.06
14494Northern Mariana Islands112.64
14593Jordan114.71
14692Azerbaijan115.03
14791Ghana115.29
14890Portugal117.71
14989Poland123.05
15088Denmark130.09
15187Thailand133.33
15286Kiribati133.35
15385Czech Republic135
15484Indonesia136.82
15583Cape Verde139.08
15682Togo140.27
15781Guatemala141.99
15880Tonga142.54
15979China143.72
16078Micronesia, Federated States of148.43
16177Isle of Man155.27
16276Kuwait161.38
16375Malawi162.02
16474Uganda164.17
16573Andorra164.46
16672Kosovo174.08
16771Gambia, The181.54
16870Paracel Islands185.81
16969Anguilla187.77
17068Switzerland199.54
17167Nepal199.65
17266Qatar199.75
17365Saint Kitts and Nevis201.97
17464Italy206.2
17563Nigeria206.36
17662Seychelles206.42
17761Sao Tome and Principe208.53
17860Korea, North209.46
17959Antigua and Barbuda214.03
18058Dominican Republic220.55
18157Cayman Islands221.37
18256Germany225.74
18355Luxembourg229.75
18454British Virgin Islands231.89
18553Trinidad and Tobago237.56
18652Liechtenstein239.02
18751Pakistan257.41
18850American Samoa258.81
18949Saint Vincent and the Grenadines262.44
19048United Kingdom265.87
19147Saint Lucia267.85
19246Jamaica272.09
19345Saint Barthelemy287.36
19444Vietnam290.33
19543El Salvador293.33
19642Guam307.64
19741Grenada324.78
19840Japan334.6
19939Curacao337.05
20038Sri Lanka341.55
20137Philippines347.52
20236Comoros361.56
20335Puerto Rico368.17
20434Belgium376.42
20533Haiti383.67
20632India389.97
20731Israel399.6
20830Netherlands411.25
20929Marshall Islands411.82
21028Burundi412.03
21127Tuvalu425.08
21226Rwanda451.88
21325West Bank468.93
21424Korea, South513.25
21523Nauru540.9
21622San Marino549.79
21721Saint Martin590.53
21820Lebanon599.02
21919Aruba639.56
22018Taiwan653.37
22117Mauritius664.9
22216Barbados679.85
22315Jersey852.07
22414Guernsey852.59
22513Bangladesh1063.09
22612Sint Maarten1237.74
22711Bermuda1312.3
22810Malta1317.53
2299Maldives1317.82
2308Bahrain1856.5
2317Holy See (Vatican City)2272.73
2326Gibraltar4522.46
2335Gaza Strip4986.62
2344Hong Kong6490.53
2353Singapore8188.16
2362Monaco15322.5
2371Macau21346.42
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About Marcus 'The Maltese Falcon' Brewster

marcusbrewster is a brand synonymous with PR excellence in SA. An industry innovator, leader, and inspiration, Brewster affiliated his multi-award winning boutique firm with larger Level 1 BBBEE marketing/comms agency MediaRevolution for scale in 2016 and went on to launch Marcus Brewster International in Europe the following year. Marcus currently lives on - and actively promotes - the Mediterranean island of Malta. For African, S. African and European PR enquiries, contact marcus@marcusbrewster.com or WhatsApp on (+356) 9931 3322
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