The predecline rise in Israeli Moslem fertility

Jona Schellekens*, Zvi Eisenbach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


In the classical description of the "demographic transition," mortality decline precedes fertility decline, thus causing a period of increased population growth until fertility starts to decline as well. This classical portrayal of the demographic transition does not seem to be accurate for many countries. Often, a rise in fertility contributed to population growth in the early stages of the demographic transition, in addition to the contribution of mortality decline. There are very few case studies of predecline rises in fertility. Usually, fertility studies focus on decline, although "a better appreciation of the changes that trigger such rises may enhance our understanding of the causes and timing of subsequent declines." One of the largest predecline rises in fertility occured among Israeli Moslems, from approximately 6.5 births among women born before 1900 to 8.5 births among women born in the 1920s and early 1930s. This rise culminated in a total fertility rate of well over nine births per woman during the 1960s. In the early 1970s, the total fertility rate started to decline, reaching a level of 4.7 by the late 1980s. The major aim of this study is to try to explain this extraordinary rise. Improving social and economic conditions are usually associated with fertility decline. This study will try to show that this is not necessarily always the case.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)541-555
Number of pages15
JournalEconomic Development and Cultural Change
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2002


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