The Dynamics and Determinants of Fertility Stagnation: Moslems in Israel from 1980-2000

Petra Nahmias, Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel
Guy Stecklov, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

It is generally assumed that once fertility levels fall by 10%, transition is well underway. Moslems in Israel experienced rapid fertility decline from TFR levels near 9 in the 1960s to about 4.5 in the early 1980s but have remained constant since then. This article uses multilevel statistical models and census data to examine fertility stagnation amongst Israeli Moslems. The results indicate that communities are becoming increasingly important predictors of fertility with Israeli Moslems displaying increasing uniformity in reproductive behavior within their communities. These findings have profound implications for fertility transition theories, as it would appear that fertility is stabilizing at levels well above replacement level, after a rapid initial decline. Could this be the final stage of the fertility transition? If so, can we continue to assume that the demographic transition involves moving from one state of homeostasis to another?

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Presented in Session 31: Fertility Transitions in Africa