CBS: Ma, pa & kids still the prevalent family structure

Single women becoming mothers up 63% since 2000.

February 10, 2010 23:49
2 minute read.
An Israeli family having dinner.

generic family dinner 311. (photo credit: Jonathan Bloom)


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The standard family structure of two parents and their children is still the norm in Israel, a study published on Wednesday by the Central Bureau of Statistics four days ahead of National Family Day has revealed.

There are 1.73 million families in Israel and the average one contains 3.7 people. More than half of the families are made up of two parents and children under the age of 17.

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However, the statistics also showed that there has been a growth in the number of single-parent families, with 6 percent of households having just one parent.

Even with more than 104,300 single-parent families in Israel, the proportion is significantly less than in countries such as Norway and Canada (10%) and the US (14%), but comparative to places like Italy and Spain. More than half the Israeli single-parent families, or 57%, were the product of divorce.

The most significant change in the make-up of Israel’s families came in the form of single women without a partner becoming mothers. In 2008, there were 13,700 such families, an increase of 63% since 2000, when there were 8,400.

Some 1.4 million, or 81%, of families define themselves as Jewish; 281,000 (16%) as Arab Israelis and the rest did not identify with any particular group.

While the average Israeli family has 3.7 members, among the Jewish population that figure was closer to 3.5 and for Arabs the average was 4.8. The difference, according to information published by the CBS, can be explained by the higher fertility rates among the Arabic-speaking population. More than a third of Arab-Israeli families consisted of six or more people.


The average number of children per family continues to be constant at 2.4; with Jewish families having 2.2 children and Arab families 2.9. The research found that the chances of an Arab-Israeli family having four children or more was twice as high as among Jewish families.

The vast majority of Israeli couples (97%) are married, with only 3% saying they had “life partners.” This is significantly less than in the US, where 8% of couples are life partners, the Netherlands, where its 18%, and Denmark, 24%.

The figures published on Wednesday also reported details on Israeli households, defined as either a home with either one family, a single person or a group of individuals living together.

There are 2.9 million households in Israel today; 1.69 million are family households and 400,000 are households without a family unit, mostly individuals living alone.

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