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Israel’s birthrate trended downward in 2020, statistics bureau says

Despite dip, Jewish state still among most fertile in OECD; in first, Jewish women surpass Arab counterparts in fertility

Illustrative: newborn babies at the Department of Gynecology at the English Mission Hospital, in Nazareth, October 31, 2012. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)
Illustrative: newborn babies at the Department of Gynecology at the English Mission Hospital, in Nazareth, October 31, 2012. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Israel’s birthrate further trended downward in 2020, falling by 3.8 percent from its peak in 2018, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) said on Monday.

According to data released by CBS, the fertility rate in 2020 was 2.9 children per woman, a continued drop from 3.01 in 2019 and 3.09 in 2018.

However, Israel still has the highest birthrate in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), whose member states have an average birthrate of 1.6.

The CBS report also said there were 177,307 births in Israel in 2020 — about 91,000 boys and about 86,000 girls — with 73.3% born to Jewish women, 21.7% born to Muslim women, 1.4% to Christians and 2.4% to Druze.

The average age for an Israeli mother having her first child was 27.7, while the average among Arab women was younger at 24.5. No figure was given for the average at which Jewish mothers have their first child.

For the first time in Israel’s history, 2020 saw the fertility rate of Jewish women surpass that of their Arab counterparts.

According to the report, Jewish women had an average of three children per woman, and Arab women had a fractionally lower 2.99.

Among Jewish women, the highest fertility rate was for ultra-Orthodox women at 6.64 children per woman, followed by religious women at 3.92 and 1.96 for secular women.

The predominantly ultra-Orthodox settlement of Modiin Illit had the highest birthrate in the country with 7.16 children per woman, while the lowest — 1.56 children per woman — was recorded in the northern Arab town of Kabul.

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