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Last update - 03:01 16/06/2006

Big drop in Israeli Arab fertility rates

By Shahar Ilan

The fertility rate among Arab women in Israel has declined steadily in the past five years, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.

Fertility rate signifies the number of children a woman is expected to deliver during the course of her life. The fertility rate among Israel's Muslims was more than nine children in the 1960s. By 1985, it had dropped to 4.7 children, and then remained at this level for the next 15 years. Over the past five years, the decline resumed, with the fertility rate dropping 8 percent - from 4.74 children per Muslim woman in 2000 to 4.36 in 2004. During the same period, the fertility rate for Jewish women rose slightly, from 2.66 to 2.71.

Another relevant figure is the number of births per thousand. Among the Jewish population, the number of births per thousand rose from 18.7 in 2000 to 19.2 in 2004. In contrast, the number of births per thousand among the Muslim population plummeted during the same period, from 37.5 to 33.2 - a drop of 11 percent.

The number of Jewish births in Israel rose from 92,000 in 2000 to 100,000 in 2004 - an increase of 9 percent. Meanwhile, there were 36,000 Muslim births in 2000 and the same number in 2004. The very next year brought a drop of 5 percent, to 34,000 Muslim births.

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