‘Number of Jews and Palestinians will be equal at end of 2022’
Both will have an estimated population of 7.1 million each, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics president Ola Awad.
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
The worldwide Palestinian population today is estimated to be 13.7 million, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).PCBS president Ola Awad reported that 5.2 million Palestinians live “in the State of Palestine” – the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. About 6.2 million Palestinians live in Arab states and another 738,000 live in foreign countries.The figure includes about 1.6 million Arab citizens of Israel, whom the PCBS refers to as “Palestinians who live in the 1948 territories.” Altogether “PCBS estimates indicate that around 6.8 million Palestinians are living in historical Palestine at the end of 2020,” she said in a report published on the PCBS’s official website. By the end of 2022 she estimated, “The number of Palestinians and Jews (living between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River) will be equal at about 7.1 million each.”The number of Palestinians living in the West Bank is estimated at 3.1 million, Awad added. An estimated 2.1 million Palestinians live in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, she said.The percentage of refugees in 2017 reached 42% of the total number of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to Awad.She also pointed out that the total fertility rate among Palestinians between 2017 and 2019 has declined to 3.8 births, compared to 4.6 births in 1999; 3.8 in the West Bank and 3.9 in the Gaza Strip.Awad also noted that there has been a decline in the average household size among Palestinians, 5.1 individuals in 2019, compared to 6.1 individuals in 2004; 4.9 in the West Bank and 5.5 in the Gaza Strip.In addition, the report pointed out, there has been a decline in the mortality rate of children under five, as well as the percentage of marriages before the age of 18 among females.On the economic situation, the report revealed that the number of employed Palestinians decreased in 2020 by 17% in the Gaza Strip and 5.5% in the West Bank. Thirteen percent of employed Palestinians were absent from their jobs during the third quarter of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.The report showed that the income of 42% of the Palestinian households declined by more than half during the lockdown period (March 5 – May 25, 2020) compared with February 2020. Monthly expenditure on food declined for 41% of households during the lockdown compared with February 2020 (42% in the West Bank and 40% in the Gaza Strip).