This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Israel's Internal Demographic Revolution

I commented before on the rapid growth of the ultra-orthodox Jewish population in Israel, due to their unusually high level of fertility. The Associated Press reports that the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics has just published its latest population projections (not yet on the web, as of this writing), and they suggest that by the year 2059, the Arab and ultra-orthodox Jewish populations could together comprise a majority of the Israel population. This is important largely because these two population groups have much lower rates of labor force participation than the rest of the Israeli population, prompting the finance minister to call for change.

More Israeli Arabs and ultra-Orthodox Jews must join the work force to spureconomic growthIsrael's central bank chief said Wednesday.
In his annual report, Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer said the government must help to make that happen. He called for better schooling to help the two fast-growing sectors enter the labor market.
Fischer said these sectors' low work participation "will have notable effects on the future growth rate, as well as on the scope of public expenditure and the ability to finance it."
Discrimination and substandard education have long limited economic opportunities for Israel's Arabs. Many ultra-Orthodox Jewish men opt for a life of religious study, don't work and live on state handouts instead. Together, the two sectors make up about 30 percent of Israel's population.
That latter figure is the current situation, but the high fertility rates of both of these groups keeps pushing that number up on virtually a daily basis, creating a very different Israel than it used to be.

1 comment:

  1. As someone who spends a good deal of time in Israel I would also point out that Arab Christians are the most educated section of society (or one of them, depending on how you calculate it). But they tend to emigrate and have small families. So for the sake of clarity Arab Muslims and Arab Christians should not be lumped together, they play very different roles in Israeli society.