Social Policies in Malta

image of Social Policies in Malta

The country case studies and thematic papers in this series examine social policy issues facing small states and the implications for economic development. They show how, despite their inherent vulnerability, some small states have been successful in improving their social indicators because of the complementary social and economic policies they have implemented.


Malta is a highincome developed small state, with an impressive level of economic growth and a multitude of social services, which have helped to provide free health and education to all its citizens and benefits to lowincome earners. However, various national and global factors are now threatening the sustainability of this extensive social security model. This paper examines the economic, political and social development of the island, particularly since independence, highlighting the successes and failures of the social development strategies adopted and suggesting how these lessons can inform future policy decisions.



The Social Environment

This section is subdivided into three parts, each discussing important social indicators in the areas of health, education, and income levels and poverty. At first glance, the social environment appears in good shape, since it is inclusive of all Maltese citizens. A few have fallen through the social net, as access thresholds have become more stringent; although the number of homeless people may be increasing, changes in the social fabric, such as family break-up, may be partially responsible for this, leading to a new form of relative poverty, although the numbers involved are still small. Whether current social security provision can be sustained in the future is, however, debatable and figures indicate that new measures will have to be taken to cater for these new realities.


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