Jerusalem. One-third of residents are Muslim
Photo: Reuters
Slowdown in Muslim population growth rate
Figures published by Central Bureau of Statistics ahead of Eid al-Adha holiday show birthrate among Muslim women in Israel higher than among women in Arab countries
The growth rate of the Muslim population in Israel is recording a steady decline in recent years, according to figures published Thursday by the Central Bureau of Statistics ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which begins Friday.


According to the data, the growth rate of the Muslim population in Israel stood at 2.8% in 2008, compared to 3.8% in the year 2000. Nonetheless, the growth rate of Muslims is the highest in Israel compared to other religions in the country.


The Druze population recorded a growth rate of 1.8% last year, Christians saw a 1.3% growth, and among Jews the growth rate stood at 1.6%.


At the end of last year, the Muslim population in Israel totaled 1.24 million people – 34,000 more residents than in late 2007. More than half of the Muslims live in northern Israel, while 21.4% live in the Jerusalem area. The rest reside in central (11.3%) and southern Israel (13.8%), and only 1.2% live in the Tel Aviv district.


About 20.6% of Muslims, some 256,000 people, live in the city of Jerusalem, constituting one-third of the capital's residents. Jerusalem is followed by Nazareth, which has 46,000 Muslims – 69.4% of the city's residents. Umm al-Fahm and Rahat also have a large Muslim population.


Only 3% of Muslim older than 65

The CBS data also reveal that the Muslim population is considered a "young population", with a high percentage of children and a low percentage of elderly people. Some 41.2% of Muslims in Israel are children under the age of 14 (about 510,000 people), while only 3% of Muslims are older than 65 (about 37,000). According to CBS officials, this is the result of the high fertility rate among Muslim women.


However, the fertility rate among Muslim women in Israel has dropped in recent years from 4.7 children in the year 2000 to 3.8 in 2008. It should be noted that Muslim women's fertility rate is still higher than that of other religious groups in the country.


A Jewish woman gives birth to an average of 2.9 children, a Druze woman gives birth to 2.5 children, and a Christian woman gives birth to 2.1 children. The birthrate of women in Arab countries is also lower than that of Muslim women in Israel – 3.1 children for each woman in Syria and Jordan, 2.9 in Egypt, 2.4 in Morocco, 2.4 in Algeria, 2.2 in Lebanon and 1.9 in Tunisia.


In Israel too, the number of children depends on the parents' geographical location. A Muslim woman living in southern Israel gives birth to an average of 6.9 children, while Muslim women living in northern Israel usually settle for three children.


There are about 226,000 households in the Muslim population, constituting about 11% of all households in Israel. The size of an average household is five people, and most households - 96% - are family households which include at least one family.


There are about 225,000 Muslim families in Israel, and in most of them at least one of the children is under the age of 17. Some 7% of the families are comprised of a couple with no children, while 5% are single-parent families in which the youngest child is under the age of 17.


פרסום ראשון: 11.26.09, 14:48
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