The Transition to Lower Fertility in the West Bank and Gaza Strip: Evidence from Recent Surveys

Marwan Khawaja, American University of Beirut
Shireen Assaf, American University of Beirut

Using recent data from three national-level surveys conducted in 1995, 2000, and 2004, we provide evidence that the Palestinian fertility rate in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, historically among the highest in the world, began to slow especially in the West Bank, but stalled in Gaza during the recent Intifada. The TFR in early 2000s was 4.56 per women, down from 6.23 a decade earlier. However, most of the decline in Gaza’s fertility appears to have taken place during the early 1990s, before the onset of the second Intifada. In Gaza, TFR decreased from 7.4 to 5.72 during the 1990s, but changed only slightly to 5.63 during the second Intifada period. Surprisingly, contraceptive prevalence has not changed during these years, and the transition to lower fertility was mainly due to nuptiality. The continuing conflict and worsening economic situation provides clues to address the persistence of high fertility among Palestinians.

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Presented in Session 150: Fertility Declines: Patterns and Causes