Religiosity, nationalism and fertility in Israel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Israel has a consistently higher level of fertility than its European counterparts, despite having a comparable standard ofliving (Keysar et al. 1992). The present chapter seeks to re-evaluate explanations for this apparently unusual situation. We suggestthat previous explanations, based on the ethnic origin and composition of the population, and on religiosity, are sociologically incomplete. Such explanations identify those segments of the population with high fertility and then argue, post hoc, ergo propter hoc, that because there is a clear empirical correlation between religiosity, ethnic origin and fertility, therefore the higher fertilityis explained by religiosity and ethnic origin. To anticipate, we shall show that neither of these putative causes can explain Israeli high fertility: High fertility is not the cultural residue of a population in transition to modernity (the ethnic origin argument), as even those sections of the population that have already made this transition show an inexplicably high level of fertility. Neither can it be explained by a religious injunction to “be fruitful and multiply,” as there are a large number of examples (including Jewish populations outside Israel) in which such an injunction is not associated with high fertility.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIsrael's Destiny
Subtitle of host publicationFertility and Mortality in a Divided Society
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781351511308
ISBN (Print)9781412806268
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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