Almost 15,000 people not living with spouse
15% at risk of poverty
As many as 14,600 married people in Malta are either legally separated or not living with their spouse, according to the latest Survey on Living and Income Conditions.
This makes up more than seven per cent of married couples, which, according to the survey, amount to about 199,780 people.
The study, carried out in 2008, shows that 3,630 of these were married and not legally separated but did not live with their spouse, while 11,040 were listed as being legally separated, with a small number of them being divorced.
The gender balance here is slanted slightly on the female side, with 55.6 per cent of separated individuals being women.
But beyond the situation with married couples, the survey also pointed out that 3,260 people were cohabiting with someone who was not their spouse. Here, however, the sample was under-representative according to the National Statistics Office, which released the figures, and an accurate figure could not be established.
The numbers come in the light of a debate on divorce after, on July 6, Nationalist backbencher Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando presented a Private Member’s Bill for the introduction of divorce in Malta.
The survey also collected data on income, poverty, social exclusion and living conditions in line with EU requirements.
It showed that 60 per cent of households did not have dependent children and two people formed the most widespread household composition.
The survey lists the total household gross income at €3.3 billion, with an average of €23,125 per household, while the average disposable income was estimated to be €29,363. However, 23 per cent of households had a disposable income of between €5,001 and €10,000 and four per cent had a disposable income of €5,000 or less.
People who owned their house on average had a disposable income of €20,863, markedly more than the €14,500 average for people in rented or free accommodation.
While the most common type of main dwelling had five rooms (29 per cent), over three fourths of dwellings had five or more rooms.
The average monthly spend on housing costs in 2008 was estimated to be €139 per household, which includes interest payments on mortgage, electricity, gas, house insurance, maintenance and rent.
In general, these were correspondent to income levels. While households with a disposable income of €10,000 or less paid €88 per month, those with a disposable income exceeding €35,000 paid €204 per month.
Just over half of the households considered housing costs to be a burden, 28 per cent found them to be a heavy burden and 19 per cent did not consider them to be a burden.
The report indicated that 15 per cent of the population were estimated to be at risk of poverty. That said, however, almost all households had a telephone, a colour television set and a washing machine. About 10 per cent of the 37 per cent who do not have a computer said they could not afford one.