Mother and child.
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
The number of single Jewish women opting to become mothers has increased
dramatically over the past decade, according to statistics released on Tuesday
by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
The data, which were published to
coincide with Family Day celebrated nationwide on Thursday, shows that some
4,900 single Jewish women in Israel gave birth in 2010, nearly double the 2,600
single women who gave birth in 2000. The increase can be linked to advances in
medical technology and the country’s policy of making fertility treatment widely
available and free.
The number of mothers raising children without any
partner has doubled from 8,000 women in 2000 to more than 16,000 women in
Overall, there were 1.8 million families in Israel in 2010 (the
most recent year where complete population statistics are available), compared
to 1.5 million in 2000. Out of the 1.8 million families in 2010, 1.45 million
were defined as Jewish (81 percent), while 303,000 (17%) were Arab.
those 1.8 million families, roughly 107,000 are headed by a single parent, with
more than 185,000 children under the age of 17 living in such households. Single
parent families constitute 6% of the total, which is also a significant increase
from the 90,000 families in 2000.
Ninety-one percent of single parent
families with young children are headed by a woman: 57% are single mothers
because of divorce, 16% are women who chose to give birth without a partner, 15%
are separated from their spouse and the rest are widows.
family structure is still very much the norm – 96% of couples are officially
married, while the remaining 4% are couples who have chosen to share their lives
without traditional approval.
The small proportion of unmarried couples
or those living in common law relationships is significantly less than in
Denmark (23%), the Netherlands (19%), the United States (10%), Spain (10%) and
The Central Bureau of Statistics data also showed that the
size of Israel’s families is shrinking slightly, with the average number of
family members at 3.74, compared to 3.76 a decade ago. More than half of the
families here include two parents and children under the age of
Jewish families averaged 3.5 people and Arab families averaged 4.9
people in 2010.
More than a third of Arab families had six people or
more, compared to only 10% of Jewish families.
The average family in 2010
had 2.4 children – 2.3 children among Jews and 2.9 children among Arabs.