Israel's population has continued to grow at a high rate in recent years (1.86% in 2023), but the sources of this growth have begun to change: last year's growth was driven largely by falling deaths and an influx of immigrants, while birth rates across all sectors have shown a downward trend in recent years .
A study of recent demographic trends published in late December by the Taub Center found that in 2022-2023, immigration's contribution to Israel's population growth increased significantly compared to the previous decade. 20% of the increase came from repatriates classified by the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the “other” category (not Arabs or “halakhic” Jews). Without an increase in this group, Israel's population growth would have fallen to 1.6% in 2023, well below the previous ten-year average of 1.93%.
“Others” come to Israel mainly from post-Soviet states, a study by the Taub Center states the impact of Russian aggression against Ukraine on the demographics of Israel. The war has “obscured” a significant downward trend in fertility, which, as researchers note, has been observed since 2018 in all sectors of the Jewish population of varying degrees of religiosity, as well as in the Arab sector and among “other” Israelis.
In the Jewish sector, the birth rate is not declining as quickly as in the Arab sector. On average, there were 3.17 children per Jewish woman in 2018; by 2022, this figure had dropped to 3.03, but for the first time exceeded the level of large families in the Arab sector: in 2018, a Muslim mother had an average of 3.2 children, in 2022 - 2.91.
In the Christian and Druze communities, fertility has fallen in recent years below replacement level - to 1.68 and 1.85, respectively. “Other” women with a dash in the religion column give birth to even fewer children - their average number of children fell from 1.54 to 1.26.
The birth rate in the ultra-Orthodox sector remains the highest, but rates are declining here too (to 6.37 children per woman on average). Secular Israeli women on average are already having less than 2 children (1.98 in 2022 versus 2.11 four years earlier) - the secular population of Israel is growing only due to the influx of repatriates.
Mortality rates in Israel fell to historic lows before the start of the war - perhaps a delayed effect of the Covid epidemic, which was accompanied by increased mortality in older age groups.