Central Statistics Bureau data show that 2005 saw a drop in the number of newborns in Israel.
According to the data, 143,913 Israeli babies were born in 2005 – 70 percent of them were born to Jewish women, 24 percent to Muslim woman, one percent to Christian-Arab women, two percent to Druze women and the remaining three percent to woman of other religions not listed in the Interior Ministry.
The number of children born in 2005 was one percent lower than the 2004 figures. The drop is mainly due to Muslim women having fewer children (5.6 percent decrease).
The average fertility rate in Israel (average number of children a woman is expected to give birth to in her lifetime) fell by 4 percent over the last three years from 2.95 children in 2003 to 2.84 in 2005.
Data collected over the last one and a half decade show that changes in child birth trends were most dramatic in the Druze community where the average fertility rate dropped from 4.1 children per woman in 1990 to 2.6 in 2005.
Among Christian Israeli Arab women, the rate fell from 2.7 in 1996 to 2.2 in 2005, while Muslim Israeli Arab women saw their fertility rate drop from 4.7 in 2000 to 4 in 2005.
Among Jewish Israeli women, the fertility rate has been relatively stable, wavering between 2.6 to 2.7 children per woman over for over 10 years.