A little Israel / Palestine demography

I pulled together a few charts for a presentation on demographic trends, including Israel / Palestine. It follows my post from 5 years ago, when I concluded that, “Israel’s trajectory is unsustainable in more ways than one.”

These use data from the UN, Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, World Bank, and Israel Democracy Institute.

1. Total fertility rates. Since 1960, Israel has gone from lower-than-average to well above average fertility in the world. Over these 60 years, the total fertility rate fell from 4 to 3. In the Occupied Territories, West Bank & Gaza (called State of Palestine in UN data – don’t @ me about the terms), TFR fell from 7.8 to 3.5 — still well above the global average but now falling much more rapidly than Israel’s.

2. Population density. This figure is one way of looking at popular growth. Countries above the gray line had greater density in 2020 than in 1990, which means larger population (unless their land area changed). Israel and Palestine are extreme outliers, and have grown more so. The conflict over land and demographic representation is taking place beneath a ticking clock of overpopulation.

3. Jewish divergence. Remarkably, since 1980, none of the Jewish religious categories have seen declining fertility rates. These are from an Israeli census report, from the Israel Social Survey, and uses their categories. The ultra-orthodox, or Haredim, were at 6.6 births per woman before the pandemic, more than three-times higher than the fertility rate of secular Jews.

The ultra-orthodox are a small group — 8% in 2015, compared with 40% secular — but with that disparity in birth rates, the are a rapidly growing share. I didn’t do any projections of my own, but these were reported by the Israel Democracy Institute, showing the ultra-orthodox population rising to one-third of the total over the next 40 years.

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