Spend time in Israel, and before long, you’ll notice that the country is crazy for kids. Playgrounds abound, children are everywhere at all hours, and every woman in her 20s or 30s appears to be pushing a stroller, with at least a couple of children trailing after her.
The average Israeli woman today has about three children over her lifetime, nearly double the rate of the rest of the developed world. Israel also has one of the highest rates of infertility treatment. These figures are only partly accounted for ultra-Orthodox Jewish women, who have especially large families. Fertility rates among less religious, even secular Jewish women in Israel are also higher than in other industrialized countries. A recent report on Israel’s Channel 10 news titled “Four Is the New Three” suggested there is a trend for secular Jewish women in Israel to have large families, perhaps to signify wealth and status.
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, fertility rates among Muslim Israeli women are similarly high but have actually fallen substantially, with women having on average one fewer child than they did at the turn of the millennium. For the Druze and Christian populations in Israel, birth rates have also declined slightly and sit at just over two children. Birth rates have also dropped in neighboring countries, such as Syria and Jordan. Yet in the same period, birth rates for Israeli Jewish women have ticked upward. Jewish Israelis, it seems, are especially ardent in their zeal for children.
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