Growing Up Gazan, Ctd

In a brief post on Gaza’s demographics (43 percent of the population is under 15 years old), Yglesias makes a salient observation:

The election in which Gazans voted for Hamas … happened back in 2006 when most currently-alive residents of the Strip were too young to vote.

Andy Coghlan looks at why the Strip’s population is so young:

Demographers say it’s a combination of unusual factors.

One is that an unusually low proportion of Palestinian women hold jobs. “It’s the place in the world where the least women work outside the home,” says Jon Pedersen of the Fafo Institute, a centre for demographic and social research in Oslo, Norway. Latest figures from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics show that 14.7 per cent of women are in the labour market.

“In most other countries, it’s much higher than that, between 70 and 80 per cent in Scandinavia, for example,” says Pedersen, who co-authored a comprehensive study a decade ago on the demography of Gaza. Even in other Middle Eastern countries with similar cultures to Gaza, the proportions working outside the home are significantly higher. In Jordan, for example, 16 per cent of women have jobs.

The data from Index Mundi show that the fertility rate in Gaza, 4.4 children per woman, is among the highest in the world. That has steadily fallen from a peak of 8.3 children per woman in 1991. This compares with a rate of 3 in Israel, although the overall rate there is elevated by higher rates of around 6 among the strictly orthodox Haredi Jews. In most European countries, it’s about 2.

Previous Dish on Gaza’s children here.