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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Another dent in the demography myth

The Central Bureau of Statistics released figures this week that show that the Jewish fertility rate in the country is rising and the Arab Muslim rate is falling. That is contrary to the assumptions in most studies of Israel's demography 'problem.'
A total of 148,170 babies came into the world last year: 71 percent of them were born to Jewish mothers and 23% to Muslims; 3% to women of undetermined religion; 2% to Druse; and 1% to Christians (81% of those Arabs). According to data from 2006, the average Israeli woman will have 2.9 children in her lifetime, compared to 2.8 based on 2005 figures. The average fertility rate among Jewish women rose from 2.7 in 2005 to 2.8 in 2006. Muslim women's fertility has declined to four children, compared to 4.7 in 2000. The lifetime fertility rate for Christian Arab women was 2.2 children in 2006, compared to 2.7 in 1996.

The highest rates are in haredi towns such as Modi'in Illit (Kiryat Sefer) and Betar Illit, with an average of eight children per woman, [bli ayin hara (warding off evil eyes). CiJ] and in Beduin towns such as Tel Sheva (6.8), Rahat and Arara. The least fertile cities were Ariel (1.7), Kiryat Yam, Tirat Carmel, Kiryat Bialik and Upper Nazareth.

There were 3% more newborns than during the previous year, with the increase due largely to a higher birthrate among Jewish women. Baby boys - 51.3% - are more common than girls. [Not surprising. We have one of the most open abortion laws in the world and in most countries that allow abortions more girls are aborted than boys. CiJ]

In 2006, the average woman gave birth to her first child at 26.8 years, about a year and six months older than a decade earlier. Only 3,966 babies were born in 2006 to women under the age of 20. Nearly 5,900 single Jewish women gave birth that year; most had never been married; the rate was 6.6 births per 1,000 single women in 2006, compared to 4.3 a decade before. Most of the increase was among women in their late 30s.
Haim Ramon and his friends will either have to find a way not to count Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) as Jews or they will have to try to find another excuse aside from the 'demography bomb' to give the country away to the 'Palestinians.'

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