The total fertility rate in Israel in 2015 was 3.1 births per woman, the highest in the OECD. Israel's fertility rate was almost 1 higher than that of Mexico and Turkey, the OECD countries with the next highest fertility rates, according to the "A Picture of the Nation 2019" report published today by the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel. The higher fertility rate among religiously observant women is not the sole reason for the difference: the fertility among secular and traditional women is 2.2, and has been rising for the past 20 years.
An analysis of fertility trends from a historic and international perspective shows that the last time that fertility rates in Western European countries were as high as 3.1 was 1931 in Italy, 1914 in Germany, and 1889 in the UK and France.
The report shows that the later age at which Jewish women give birth to their first child is not detracting from their fertility. The average age at which women gave birth to their first child rose by three years in 1994-2016 among Christian and Druze women and by one year among Muslim women, accompanied by a 6% drop in the fertility rate among Christian women, a 41% drop among Druze women, and a 30% drop among Muslim women. While the average age at which Jewish women gave birth to their first child rose by 2.8 years in this period, however, their fertility rate increased by 0.4 children.
In line with the global trend, the highest fertility rates among Arab women were among women with the lowest education level and the lowest fertility rates were among women with academic degrees. Among Jewish women, on the other hand, the fertility rate among non-haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jewish women who only graduated high school and those with an academic degree was the same.
Israel differs from other countries with similar per capita GDP, which have far lower fertility rates, e.g. South Korea (1.24) and New Zealand (2.02). Other countries with fertility rates like that of Israel have much lower per capita GDP - an average of one fifth of Israel's per capita GDP.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 6, 2019
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