by: Amir Alon
The average number of children per mother in Israel is the highest in the West, and was found to be 3.11 children in 2016, according to Central Bureau of Statistics data on birth and fertility.
In most Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, it was noted, total fertility rates in recent years were less than 2.1 children per mother, lower than the rate necessary to keep the population from shrinking.
The highest fertility rate in 2016 belonged to Muslim women—3.29 children per mother—and the lowest to women whose religion was not classified by the census—with 1.64 children. The latter group is comprised mostly of spouses of Jewish olim (immigrants) and those whose religions are not separately noted, such as Buddhists, Hindus, Samaritans and the like.
Israel’s overall fertility rate was 3.14 children per mother—the same rate measured in 1980. An uptick in fertility rates began in 2006 following a surge in Jewish women’s fertility rates, reaching the 2016 rate of 3.14 despite a drop in Muslim, Christian and Druze women’s fertility rates.
Precisely 191,405 babies were born in 2016, 139,400 (76.8%) of whom were born to Jewish women and those of other religions except Islam. The remainder were born to Arab women. Split by gender, 51.5% of babies were male.
By religion, 73.9% of babies born in 2016 were born to Jewish women, 20.7% to Muslims, 1.4% to Christians, 1.3% to Druze, and 2.6% to women whose religion was not classified in the census.
The proportion of babies born to women 30 years or older rose from 40.2% in 2000 to 51.5% in 2016. Putting off births until age 30 is a prevalent trend among many developed countries. In Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy, for instance, mothers’ average age when giving birth soared past 30 in the mid-nineties.
SOURCE: Bridges for Peace