Maltese Americans
Maltin Amerikani
Total population
c. 0.01% of the U.S. population (2019)
Regions with significant populations
Metro Detroit, New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago[2]
English, Maltese
Roman Catholicism
Related ethnic groups
Italian Americans, Sicilian Americans, Corsican American, Maltese Canadians, Maltese Australians, British Maltese

Maltese Americans (Maltese: Maltin Amerikani or Maltin tal-Amerika) are Americans with Maltese ancestry.[3]


The first immigrants from Malta to the United States arrived during the mid-eighteenth century to the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. Many Americans assumed Malta was part of Italy. In some cases "Born Malta, Italy" was put on tombstones of Maltese because of the confusion.[4]

20th century

After World War I, in 1919, Maltese immigration to the US increased. In the first quarter of 1920 more than 1,300 Maltese immigrated to the United States. Detroit, Michigan, with jobs in the expanding automobile industry, drew the largest share of immigrants. It is believed that in the following years, more than 15,000 Maltese people emigrated to the United States, later getting U.S. citizenship.

A significant percentage of early Maltese immigrants intended to stay only temporarily for work, but many settled in the US permanently. In addition to Detroit, other industrial cities such as New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago attracted Maltese immigrants.[2]

After World War II the Maltese government committed to pay passage costs to Maltese people who wanted to emigrate and live at least two years abroad. This program led to increased emigration by the people of the island and made up approximately 8,000 Maltese who arrived to the United States between the years 1947 and 1977. Malta's government promoted Maltese emigration because Malta was overpopulated.[2]


Estimates of the number of Maltese immigrants and their descendants living in the US by 1990 have been as high as 70,000. The majority of Americans of Maltese descent continued to live in the same cities where immigration had taken place, particularly Detroit (approximately 44,000 Maltese) and New York City (more than 20,000 Maltese); in the latter, most of the people of Maltese origin are concentrated in Astoria, Queens. San Francisco and Chicago also have significant populations.[2]

The 2019 American Community Survey estimated that there were 42,058 Americans of Maltese ancestry living in the United States.[5] Of these, 14,078 have Maltese as their only ancestry.[6] This includes Maltese born immigrants to the United States, their American-born descendants as well as numerous immigrants from other nations of Maltese origin. Around 6,506 of them are foreign born.[7]


As in their country of origin, Maltese Americans predominantly practice Roman Catholicism as their religion. Many are practicing Catholics, attending church every week and actively participating in their local parishes.[2]

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ "2019 American Community Survey 1-Year estimates".
  2. ^ a b c d e "Maltese Americans - History, Modern era, The first maltese in america, Settlement".
  3. ^ Diane Andreassi, "Maltese Americans." Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America, edited by Thomas Riggs, (3rd ed., vol. 3, Gale, 2014), pp. 163-170. online
  4. ^ Maltese in Michigan.
  5. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved 2022-01-16.
  6. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved 2022-01-16.
  7. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved 2022-01-16.
  8. ^ Judy Putnam (January 12, 2018). "Ingham judge has creative life off the bench with new crime thriller". Lansing State Journal.
  9. ^ "Life amongst Minions... for Kyle Balda". The Irish Independent. June 22, 2015. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  10. ^ Grima, John (22 March 2005). "Successful Maltese migrants". The Times. Malta. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
  11. ^ South Bend Tribune Obituary of Joseph Anthony Buttigieg II. South Bend, Indiana. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  12. ^ Tom McNaught; John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum (May 2, 2000). "2000 Winning Essay by Peter Buttigieg".
  13. ^ "Across from Malta". The New York Times. October 21, 1934. Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  14. ^ "Orlando E Caruana". Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  15. ^ "News From Rep. Camilleri". 2016-12-16. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  16. ^ Bob Verdi (May 8, 2017). "Verdict: Prolific DeBrincat brushes off defenders, doubters".
  17. ^ Hendel, Talia. "Q&A: Aaron Falzon's Memorable Summer with Team Malta". Nu sports.
  18. ^ "✍️ Tevin Falzon makes switch to Bristol Flyers". July 12, 2018.
  19. ^ @daniellefishel (November 28, 2012). "@briannaberlen thank you! I'm 50% Maltese and 50% everything else" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  20. ^ "The Maltese in New York", Malta Migration. Retrieved on 20 July 2016.
  21. ^ "Joseph Lapira - Another Player with Maltese Roots!". Archived from the original on 2012-06-03. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  22. ^ Drawn & Quarterly (2004). Joe Sacco: Biography. Retrieved April 24, 2006.
  23. ^ a b c d Spears, Lynne (September 16, 2008). "Chapter 2: Kentwood – From Malta to Louisiana". Through the Storm: A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World (1st ed.). Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc. p. 4. ISBN 978-1-4185-6735-4. Retrieved February 19, 2014. But on my mama's side, the family tree is a little more colorful and glamorous. Her father, my grandfather, was Anthony Portelli, who came from the island of Malta.
  24. ^ "Charlie Williams". Valletta Valletta FC. 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2018.

Further reading