Definition of Youth

The National Youth Policy (2010) defines youth as 13-30 years.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 16
  • --
  • --
  • Female
  • 16
  • --
  • --

  • No data for marriage with parental consent. No specific legislation for same-sex marriage. Homosexual acts legal. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
If a crime is committed by someone aged 14-18, , "the applicable penalty shall be decreased by one or two degrees". Source:  Criminal Code of Malta

Majority Age


Source: Civil Code (1874)

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 98.52% Male (15-24) %
  • 99.47% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 79.60%Male %
  • 83.70% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • -- Male (13-15) %
  • -- Female (13-15) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Malta has a national youth policy. There are a 2005 review, a 2012 briefing and a 2012 youth study.

The National Youth Policy 2010-2013:  

[...] determines direction and key policy objectives for the Government of Malta and for other stakeholders in the youth field. It is designed to include a general framework that sets out a desired vision for youth outcomes.
The policy has a vision of ”young people who are enthusiastic to be successful and empowered to achieve their potential, while living in solidarity as active citizens.”   It also has a mission to “address the holistic development of young people” and advocates for “young people’s needs on behalf of [the] community.”   The policy is based around five “threads:
  • Participation and Engagement;
  • Youth Information;
  • Social Inclusion;
  • Family;
  • Mobility.
In July 2014, the Malta Star reported that a new draft national youth policy was open for consultation. The development process is described online, and the draft of the policy, to cover the period 2015-2020, is available online as well.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The Ministry of Education and Employment and the Parliamentary Secretary for Research, Innovation, Youth and Sport, have the responsibility for youth policy.   There is also the Youth Agency, established in February 2011 to “mainstream youth related issues and further develop youth services”. The overall objective of the agency is to “provide a coherent, cohesive and unified government approach to addressing the needs and aspirations of young people”.   The Agency is funded through grants from the Ministry of Education and Employment.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The National Youth Council of Malta was established as an independent body in 1993 with the following aims:
  • Promote a cross-sectoral youth policy;
  • Influence youth policy at a regional and international level;
  • Increase the participation of young people and youth organisations in society and decision-making;
  • Promote the exchange of ideas and experience;
  • Promote equal rights and opportunities amongst young people.
Projects have included a Charter of Youths’ Rights, Youth Parliament, local youth councils, Youth Day activities and the Mediterranean Youth Forum.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
USD 1.1 million
The Ministry of Education and Employment receives EUR 194.6 million (USD 268.7 million) in The Budget 2014.   A further breakdown shows allocations totaling EUR 499,000 (USD 693,012) for youth related ‘programmes and initiatives’, and an additional EUR 320,000 (USD 444,457) grant to the Youth Agency. This gives a total of EUR 819,000 (USD 1.1 million) for youth in 2014. According to the World Bank, Malta spent 16.11% of its government expenditure and 6.91% of its GDP on education provision in 2010.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed August 2013).

Additional Background

The 2005 Council of Europe report Youth Policy in Malta provides some background on life for young people in Malta:  
In many respects Malta is a traditional Roman Catholic society in which faith, family and community constitute the main points of reference for the overwhelming majority of the population. It is a warm and cohesive society that certainly appears to care deeply for its young people… Unlike many other European countries, young people’s delayed transition to independent living is not perceived as a major problem in Malta. Most young people are content to remain living at home until their late twenties, and parents appear happy to accommodate them.
Despite the undoubtedly supportive nature of local parish life, there is a downside that cannot be ignored. There are two main areas in which young people in Malta seem to be disadvantaged: in terms of establishing their own autonomy and, in the more closely observed neighbourhoods, at least, asserting individual difference. Establishing youth autonomy in a society still characterized by deeply paternalistic reflexes is no simple matter. Even in those cases where the public authorities make genuine efforts to extend participation rights, many young people seem uncomfortable with going against the grain of cultural traditions and opt, instead, to defer to traditional authority. The assertion of difference in an apparently monocultural society, meanwhile, is also problematic for some young people. Close communities are usually wonderfully nurturing places in which to grow up, but they can also sometimes be stiflingly judgmental.
  The 2012 youth study Mirrors and Windows: Maltese Young People’s Perception of Themselves, Their Families, Communities and Society found that:  
[y]oung people are, in general, well behaved and law-abiding, with strong relationships with their parents and siblings. They are motivated, concerned with and supportive of others and display a need and a desire to communicate and foster human relationships. They are for the most part happy, healthy and well-educated, respectful and tolerant, religious and spiritual. They are positive and optimistic about their future. In material terms, most live at home, have computers/laptops, mobile phones and access to the internet and spend half their money on recreation, shopping and travel.
Young people see independent decision making and the changing relationship with their parents as the most important features of emerging adulthood. Inter-personal and sexual relationships are also seen by them as important indicators. While tolerant in their views on what constitutes a family, they are less so when it comes to same sex couples. While interested and participative in religion, and somewhat less so in politics, they are less attracted by institutionalized religion and politics. The growing importance and omnipresence of communication technology – the internet and mobile phones – in young people’s lives is most noticeable. Conversely, voluntary and community work, cultural and artistic pursuits and sporting activities are not as common as might be generally thought or desired. These are not only challenges but also opportunities for all those who work for and with young people and in particular: parents, teachers, youth workers, social workers and career guidance officers, priests and those in the religious life, and politicians.