March 25, 2012

The Arab Demographic Revolution by Yoram Ettinger

The steep decline in the Arab fertility rate west of the Jordan River
­ in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and pre-1967 Israel ­ reflects the
demographic revolution throughout the Muslim world, especially in the
Arab countries of the Middle East.

According to the 2011 CIA Factbook, the fertility in Iran, the most
religious Shiite country, is 1.87 births per woman, in Saudi Arabia,
the most religious Sunni country ­ 2.5, in the small Gulf States ­
2.5, in North Africa ­ 2.5, in Syria ­ 3, in Egypt ­ 2.94, in Jordan ­
3.4, in Iraq ­ 3.76, in Yemen ­ 4.81 and in Sudan ­ 4.93 births per

In 1969, the Israeli Arab fertility rate (which is similar to the
Judea and Samaria Arab fertility rate) was 6 births higher than the
Jewish fertility rate.  In 2012, the Arab-Jewish fertility gap plunged
to 0.5 births. Moreover, the fertility rates of younger Arab and
Jewish women have converged at 3 births per woman, while the average
Israeli-born Jewish mothers already exceed 3 births per woman. Jewish
fertility trends upward (particularly within the secular sector!), and
Arab fertility trends downward, as a result of successful integration
of Arabs ­ and especially Arab women - into the infrastructures of

The Jewish fertility rate in Israel is higher than any Arab countries,
other than Sudan, Yemen, Iraq and Jordan, which are trending downward.

The triggers of the demographic revolution among Arabs west of the
Jordan River are very similar to those which caused the overall
Muslim/Arab demographic implosion: urbanization, expanded primary,
secondary and tertiary education primarily among women, more assertive
women at home and in the workforce, family planning, all-time high
wedding and reproductive age, all-time low teen pregnancy, all-time
high divorce rates and youthful emigration.  In 2012, an increasing
number of Arab women remain unmarried during their 20s.

Dr. Nicholas Eberstadt, a leading demographer at the American
Enterprise Institute, wrote in Foreign Policy Magazine, March 9, 2012:
"Declines in the total fertility rate [in Muslim countries] have been
jaw-dropping…. Throughout the global Muslim community, the average
number of children per woman is falling dramatically. According to the
UN Population Division, all Muslim-majority countries and territories
witnessed fertility declines over the past three decades…. Algeria and
Morocco have total fertility rates in the same ball park as Texas;
Indonesia is almost identical to Arkansas; Tunisia looks like
Illinois; Lebanon's fertility level is lower than New York's; Iran's
is comparable to that of New England, the region in America with the
lowest fertility…. A century of research has detailed the associations
between fertility decline and socioeconomic modernization, as
represented by income levels, educational attainment, urbanization,
public health, treatment of women, and the like…. Current fertility
levels seem to be the product of intangible factors (culture, values,
personal hopes and expectations) and not just material and economic
forces…. Where Muslim women want fewer children, they are increasingly
finding ways to manage it ­ with the pill or without it…. The
fertility decline over the past generation has been more rapid in the
Arab states than virtually anywhere else on earth…. A new world is
being born before our eye ­ and we would all do well to pay much
closer attention to its significance.”

 Demographic studies document that dramatic declines in fertility
never bounce back to previous high levels.

While Arab demography is imploding, Israel's Jewish demography
benefits from a tailwind ­ a 56% surge in the number of annual Jewish
births between 1995 and 2011, compared to a 10% rise in the number of
Arab births. In 1995, the Jewish births constituted 69% of total
births, compared with 76% in 2011. In 1995, there were 2.34 Jewish
births per one Arab birth, compared with 3.2 Jewish births per one
Arab birth in 2011.  Contrary to most of the world, Israel's Jewish
population is growing younger (while Israel's Arab population is
growing older) and educated, which bodes well for Israel's economic

Jewish demography is further bolstered by Aliya (Jewish immigration),
an unprecedented flow of returning expatriates, a relatively low
number of emigrants and a substantial annual net-emigration of (mostly
young) Arabs from Judea and Samaria -17,000 in each of the last three

A pro-active Aliya policy would leverage the global economic and
political circumstances in the former USSR, France, England, Argentina
and the USA.  It could produce a wave of 500,000 Olim (Jewish
immigrants) during the next ten years, catapulting the current 66%
Jewish majority ­ in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967
Israel ­ to an 80% Jewish majority by 2035.

No comments:

Post a Comment