With 4,709 fewer births recorded in 2020, Israel’s birth rate declined 2.6 percent over the previous year, according to data released from the Central Bureau of Statistics on Monday.

Of the 177,307 children born in 2020, 51.4% (91,101) were boys and 48.6% (86,206) were girls. A majority, 73.3%, were born to Jewish women, while 21.7% were born to Muslim women, 1.4% to Christian women and 2.4% to Druze women.

The Jewish fertility rate surpassed the Arab rate for the first time in 2020, with Jews having three children on average compared to 2.99 in the Arab sector.

At 6.64 children per woman, haredi women had the highest fertility rate among Israel’s Jewish population, compared to 1.96 among secular Jewish women.

The average Israeli woman was 27 years old at the birth of their first child, according to CBS data. Arab women, on average, had their first child at the age of 24.

The decline in the birthrate continues a trend that began in 2019 and follows an ongoing increase in the birthrate that began in 1988 and peaked when 184,370 children were born in 2018.

According to CBS data, the fertility rate for Israeli women in 2020 was 2.9, a decrease from 3.01 in 2019.

Israel, however, continues to have the highest birthright in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, where the average birthright is 1.6.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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