Decomposing the Palestinian "Demographic Puzzle": an Exploration of the Proximate Determinants of Fertility in the West Bank and Gaza
Weeam S. Hammoudeh, Brown University
Dennis Hogan, Brown University
Fertility in the occupied Palestinian territory has been termed a ‘demographic puzzle’ due to the persistence of high fertility. However, considerable declines in Palestinian fertility have occurred since the mid-1990s. Through a formal decomposition based on the Bongaarts framework, we examine the determinants of fertility decline between 1995 and 2010. We then examine the determinants of modern contraception using multivariate analyses. The findings of this study show that significant declines in fertility have occurred between 1995 and 2010, with the biggest declines occurring between 2000 and 2006. The main proximate determinant responsible for decline is the increased uptake of contraception. Although fertility in the Gaza Strip remains higher than the West Bank, there has been greater overall decline in fertility in the Gaza Strip. The multivariate results point to important regional variations in contraceptive use as well as the importance of understanding contraceptive use in light of women’s societal status.