DEMOGRAPHY OF THE PALESTINIAN POPULATION
WITH SPECIAL EMPHASIS ON THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES*

Arjun L. Adlakha, Kevin G. Kinsella and Marwan Khawaja

------------------

* Bibliographical and other references have, wherever possible, been verified.


INTRODUCTION

The Palestinian-Israeli peace accord of September 1993 brought limited self-rule to the residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Since then, the international spotlight has focused on the myriad political and logistical problems confronting the newly established Palestinian Government. Amid these compelling issues is the more mundane but essential need to establish baseline information on the size, distribution, and demographic characteristics of the Palestinian population in the occupied territories, which include the entire area of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. Furthermore, it becomes important for Palestinian planners to know the size of the Palestinian populations in other countries, because the 1993 accord provides "permanent" but currently non-resident population the legal right to return to the occupied territories and establish residence.

Available data on Palestinian populations in the occupied territories and elsewhere are characterized by uncertainty and uneven quality. Twenty-eight years have elapsed since the last (1967) population census in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Although the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS) publishes annual estimates of births, deaths, and migrants in the occupied territories, such estimates are generally acknowledged to be incomplete, and by definition provide little demographic detail. Outside the occupied territories, sources of data on Palestinians vary widely according to country. In addition to basic conceptual problems associated with defining and estimating Palestinian populations in other nations, the Palestinians' migratory propensity (often propelled by political and military events such as the 1991 Gulf war) militates against systematic attempts to establish population size and characteristics.

The purpose of this paper is threefold: (i) to provide time series of the Palestinian Arab population size from 1950 to 1995 in 16 countries in the Middle East and North Africa; (ii) to present detailed current and historical information on the size, composition, and components of population change (fertility, mortality, and migration) for the Palestinian Arab population living in the OPT; and (iii) to assess future growth prospects of the Arab population living in the OPT. As a framework for discussion, "Palestinian Arabs" (hereinafter referred to as "Palestinians") are defined as: Arabs born or living in the area of Palestine as constituted during the period of the British Mandate (1923-1948); Arabs born or living in the components of the Palestine land area subsequently designated as Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip; and Arabs who, after 14 May 1948, identified themselves or were classified as Palestinians in censuses or population counts in other countries and areas of the world.

A. Growth and distribution of the Palestinian
population in 16 Arab countries

The present study builds upon previous analyses of Palestinian population conducted by the United States Bureau of the Census (1987 and 1991) and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (1994) to arrive at the distribution of Palestinians in 16 Arab countries. Wherever possible, direct information--census, survey and registration data supplemented by vital statistics, school enrollments, and other demographic data--on Palestinian populations has been utilized. For countries lacking direct data, secondary sources and/or indirect estimation techniques have been employed. To generate comparative estimates of population size for 1995, component population projections were made at the United States Bureau of the Census for each of the 16 countries/areas in the study. National projections are based on the latest available and reliable population age/sex structure; hence the base projection year varies by country. Each national population base was projected to 1995 using trends in fertility, mortality and migration as estimated from a range of sources.1/ Figures in this paper also take into account the displacement of Palestinians during and after the 1991 Gulf war.

Population growth rate

In 1995, approximately 6.5 million Palestinians lived in 16 countries of the Middle East and North Africa (table 1). Over the entire 45-year period from 1950 to 1995, the growth rate of this total population was very high, averaging about 3.3 per cent per year. Between 1950 and 1975 the trend of the inter-period growth rate was upward, increasing from 2.6 per cent per year during 1950 to 1955 to 3.6 per cent per year during 1970 to 1975. Between 1975 and 1990 the growth rate was slightly lower, averaging about 3.3 per cent per year. For the last five-year period, the Palestinian population in these 16 countries increased at the highest rate ever, 3.7 per cent per year.

Although the Palestinian population is not a closed population in the sense of being exempt from gains or losses from intermarriage and assimilation, as well as migration to/from other countries, gains or losses due to the annual excess of births over deaths are clearly the primary determinants of population change. Thus, the upward trend of the inter-period growth rate from 1950-1955 to 1970-1975 is primarily the product of high birth rates which showed little decline from 1950 to 1975, in combination with relatively high death rates which declined very rapidly. Similarly, the constant growth rate from 1975-1980 to 1985-1990 indicates that the declines in the birth rate and the death rate were about the same. During the period 1990-1995, the increase in population growth rate resulted, in part, from an increase in the birth rate in the occupied territories.

Population distribution

Since 1948, political and other events have led to a wide dispersal of the Palestinian population, both within and away from the former Palestine land area (Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip).

(a) 1948-1950. At the beginning of 1948, nearly two thirds of the Arab population of Palestine lived within the land area which came to form the State of Israel. On 14 May 1948, the establishment of the State of Israel was proclaimed. The following day, armies from neighbouring Arab nations entered Palestine and began open warfare with Israel. In just the short period from May 1948 to mid-year 1950, it is estimated that over 600,000 Palestinians left the land area included in the State of Israel and migrated to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and other contiguous areas and countries (Bachi, 1977).

(b) 1950-1990. The scope of subsequent population redistributions is suggested by the figures in table 2. In 1990, 75 per cent of the Palestinian population lived in the four primary settlement areas, down from a level of 87 per cent in 1950. Conversely, 25 per cent of the 1990 Palestinian population lived outside the four primary settlement areas, compared with only 13 per cent in 1950. It is also important to note the changes in the relative distribution of the Palestinian population among the four primary settlement areas. From 1950 to 1990, an increasing percentage of the Palestinian population lived in Jordan (8 per cent in 1950, 29 per cent in 1990) and in Israel (11 per cent in 1950, 13 per cent in 1990), while a decreasing percentage lived in the West Bank (51 per cent in 1950, 21 per cent in 1990) and the Gaza Strip (16 per cent in 1950, 12 per cent in 1990).

(c) 1990-1995. As shown in table 1, the four primary concentrations of Palestinians in 1995 still are in Jordan (1,977,000), the West Bank (1,485,000), the Gaza Strip (905,000) and Israel (801,000). These now account for a

Table 1. Number of Palestinians in 16 Middle Eastern countries,
1950 to 1995

(In thousands)

Country or area 1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1990 1995
Algeria (z) (z) (z) (z) (z) (z) (z) 5 5
Bahrain (z) (z) (z) (z) 1 2 2 2 24
Egypt 12 13 15 18 24 28 32 40 44
Gaza Strip 240 260 302 343 336 386 444 658 905
Iraq 4 8 13 15 16 17 18 30 36
Israel 161 192 232 291 356 429 513 687 905
Jordan 122 208 290 408 721 824 1035 1558 1977
West Bank 765 782 790 856 676 765 832 1126 1485
Kuwait 17 25 42 76 142 196 264 312 50
Lebanon 90 106 126 149 240 306 298 332 392
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (z (z) 1 2 6 18 19 28 32
Oman (z) (z) (z) (z) 1 4 5 7 7
Qatar (z) (z) 1 3 9 16 22 31 34
Saudi Arabia 2 4 10 23 48 82 117 206 248
Syrian Arab Republic 75 92 113 128 156 183 215 302 358
United Arab Emirates (z) (z) (z) 1 24 34 47 52
Total 1488 1692 1946 2313 2740 3281 3851 5371 6450
Percentage annual

growth rate

2.6

2.8

3.5

3.4

3.6

3.2

3.3

3.7

Source: United States Bureau of the Census, 1987, 1990 and 1994.

Note: (z) fewer than 500.

Table 2. Percentage distribution of the Palestinian population,
1950 to 1995

Country or area 1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1990 1995
Jordan 8 12 15 18 26 25 27 29 31
Gaza Strip 16 15 16 15 12 12 12 12 814
West Bank 51 46 41 37 25 23 22 21 23
Israel 11 11 12 13 13 13 13 13 12
Subtotal 87 85 83 82 76 73 73 75 80
Other countries 13 15 17 18 24 27 27 25 20
Total 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

Source: Based on the data shown in table 1.

significantly higher proportion (80 per cent) of all Palestinians living in the 16 countries than was the case in 1990 (75 per cent). The 1990-1995 increase reflects the displacement of Palestinians due to the Gulf war. Some 300,000 Palestinians returned to Jordan during and after the conflict, and both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip recorded post-war net immigration--the reported net immigration for both areas combined was about 10,000 in 1991 and 12,000 in 1992.

B. Demographic characteristics of the Palestinian
population in the occupied territories

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) recently undertook a review of available data for the occupied territories in order to establish baseline estimates of population size, fertility, and mortality. The major findings from this review are briefly described here.

Current population size, age structure and growth rate

The (ICBS) is the primary source of demographic data on the occupied territories, including data on the size of the population. It has published annual estimates of the de facto (resident) population since 1967 in the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem and hereinafter referred to as the remaining West Bank) and the Gaza Strip. The estimates are based on the 1967 census population updated annually by adding registered births, subtracting estimated deaths, and factoring in registered migration.

According to the ICBS, the combined population of the remaining West Bank and the Gaza Strip was 1,769,000 in 1992. However, several independent studies suggest that the ICBS estimates may have a downward bias as high as 15 per cent (World Bank, 1994). The authors of the present paper, after review of other studies and consultation with the ICBS, concluded that there is an underestimation in the ICBS 1992 population estimate of roughly 6 per cent. A higher magnitude of underestimation, as a result of the 1967 census undercount and subsequent under-registration of births, does not appear plausible in view of the prevailing conditions of military occupation, whereby residents of the occupied territories are required to have identity cards. The 1967 census had, as one objective, the issuance of identity cards to persons counted in the census; birth certificates are used for the same purpose.

The 6 per cent underestimation figure was derived in two stages. It was first assumed that during the period 1982-1992, the birth registration system missed 3 per cent of births, partly due to missing those infants who were born at home and died soon after birth; the reported infant mortality rate based on registration data was only one half of that based on survey data or other sources (table 6 and 7), indicating that a significant proportion of births of children who die in infancy escapes registration. Therefore, we assume that the official Israeli 1992 estimate of population under age 10 years is underestimated by 3 per cent. In view of the findings of other studies, the official Israeli estimate of population aged 10 years and over was considered to have greater error--a 10 per cent underestimation--because of proportionally higher under-registration of births in the past, undercount in the 1967 census, and apparent errors in the estimation of deaths and migration. The overall 6 per cent figure cannot be validated but is plausible in view of the data collection experience in other developing countries. Accordingly, as of mid-1992, the number of residents in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) was 1.27 million and in the Gaza Strip 0.75 million.

As described in detail in the next section, we estimated that as of mid-1995, approximately 2.4 million Palestinians were living in the occupied territories. Of these, 1.5 million were in the West Bank and about 0.9 million in the Gaza Strip. The current population in the occupied territories is young by international standards. The median age is only 16 years, and 48 per cent of the population is under 15 years of age (table 3). The population in the occupied territories is growing rapidly; the estimated 1995 growth rate is nearly 6 per cent, owing in part to the assumed return of 50,000 non-resident Palestinians to the occupied territories in 1995. Even in the absence of such migration, the population in the occupied territories will grow nearly 4 per cent. The occupied territories have one of the highest rates of natural increase in the world, a consequence of a low crude death rate (around 6 deaths per 1,000 persons) and a very high birth rate of about 45 births per 1,000 persons.

Past population trends

The ICBS series of estimates is the only source for studying change in the size of the population in the occupied territories over time. Estimates of size, natural increase and migration for the remaining West Bank and the Gaza Strip during the period 1961-1993 are shown in table 4.

Emigration has been a significant factor in determining population change in the occupied territories, especially in the West Bank. As a direct result of the 1967 war, nearly one fifth of the West Bank population moved to Jordan. During 1967-1968, more than 8 per cent of the Gaza Strip population emigrated. Emigration from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip continued during most of the

Israeli occupation, although at varying annual rates. Between 1967 and 1990, the

Table 3. Demographic indicators for the occupied territories, 1995

Indicator Total West Bank Gaza Strip
Population (thousands)
Total 2,390 1,485 905
Male 1,206 749 457
Female

1,184 736 448
Sex ratio (per 100 females)

101.8 101.7 101.9
Age distribution
Percentage aged 0-4 20.0 18.9 22.2
Percentage aged 5-14 27.6 27.3 28.1
Percentage aged 15-24 19.7 19.9 19.6
Percentage aged 15-64 48.5 49.9 46.2
Percentage aged 55 and over 7.2 6.0 6.4
Percentage aged 65 and over 3.7 3.8 3.7
Percentage of total women in ages 15-49

42.9 44.3 40.5
Median age (years) 16.0 17.6 14.9
Dependency ratio 106.2 100.5 116.3
Population growth rate (percentage) 6.0 5.8 6.3
Crude birth rate (per 1,000 population) 45.0 40.6 52.1
Crude death rate (per 1,000 population) 6.4 6.5 6.2
Natural growth rate (percentage) 3.9 3.4 4.6
Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 births) 36.0 37.0 34.0
Total fertility rate 6.5 5.6 8.1

Source: Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.

average outmigration rate for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip exceeded 1 per cent per year. More recently, however, as a consequence of the Gulf war, there was net immigration as Palestinians returned to the occupied territories (and to Jordan) from Kuwait and other Gulf countries.

Despite sustained emigration during the 1970s and 1980s, there was a substantial increase in the size of the population in the occupied territories. The remaining West Bank population increased from 596,000 in September 1967 to over a million by the end of 1992, an increase of 77 per cent. During the same period, the Gaza Strip population grew by 84 per cent, from 390,000 to 717,000.

Table 4. The de facto Palestinian population of the remaining
West Bank and Gaza Strip, 1961-1993

REMAINING WEST BANK
GAZA STRIP TOTAL

Year

Population
(in thousands)

Natural
increase
rate %
Net
immigration
rate %
Population
(in thousands)
Natural
increase
rate %
Net
immigration
rate %
Total
population
(in thousands)
Population
growth
rate %
Nov. 1961 806
1966 455
May 1967 846
Sept. 1967 596 0.50 2.18 390 0.85 3.13 986 -1.92
1968 586 2.22 2.70 381 2.18 8.48 967 -2.77
1969 583 2.32 -0.22 357 2.80 0.81 490 2.33
1970 598 2.49 0.82 364 2.58 0.91 962 1.66
1971 608 2.85 0.41 370 3.03 0.65 978 2.41
1972 623 2.91 1.17 379 3.22 1.06 1.001 1.90
1973 634 2.95 -0.05 387 3.31 -0.44 1.021 3.28
1974 652 3.08 0.43 402 3.56 0.45 1.054 2.83
1975 670 3.08 2.25 414 3.62 0.85 1.084 1.57
1976 675 3.33 2.13 426 3.78 0.99 1.101 1.82
1977 683 3.32 1.49 437 3.73 0.66 1.121 2.31
1978 696 3.10 1.35 451 3.75 1.04 1.121 2.31
1979 708 3.29 1.78 463 3.56 1.04 1.171 1.91

Table 4 (continued)

REMAINING WEST BANK GAZA STRIP TOTAL
Year Population
(in thousands)
Natural increase rate % Net immigration rate % Population (in thousands) Natural increase rate % Net immigration rate % Population (in thousands) Population growth rate %
1980 719 3.19 2.41 445 3.80 1.15 1.163 1.50
1981 724 3.20 2.17 457 3.88 1.16 1.181 1.69
1982 733 3.34 1.08 470 3.79 0.66 1.202 2.60
1983 749 3.36 0.36 477 3.81 0.21 1.227 3.24
1984 772 3.55 0.75 495 4.08 0.97 1.266 2.92
1985 793 3.42 0.63 510 3.90 0.57 1.303 3.00
1986 816 3.37 0.63 527 4.10 0.68 1.343 3.01
1987 838 3.55 -0.08 545 4.33 0.61 1.383 3.67
1988 868 3.55 0.40 566 4.53 0.48 1.434 3.50
1989 895 3.76 1.46 589 4.88 1.16 1.484 2.86
1990 916 4.20 -0.27 610 5.05 -0.25 1.526 4.80
1991 957 4.16 -0.98 643 5.12 -0.06 1.600 5.13
1992 1,006 4.90 -0.51 676 5.03 -1.01 1.682 5.17
1993 1,052 717 1.769

Source: The World Bank, 1993, p. 6.

During the Israeli occupation, birth rates in the occupied territories remained very high while death rates declined substantially; outmigration, to a certain extent, was countered by declining mortality. Consequently, the rate of natural population growth rose from 2.2 per cent in 1968 to nearly 5 per cent in the remaining West Bank and more than 5 per cent in the Gaza Strip. Since 1988, a rising birth rate has been the primary reason for the rise in the rate of natural increase.

Mortality

Data on mortality are available from two official sources: the ICBS and the Israel Ministry of Health (IMOH). The ICBS estimates are based on models, while the Ministry of Health data come from a vital registration system. However, it should be noted that underregistration of deaths is common in all age groups, and underregistration is especially high for infants. Thus, IMOH estimates should be used with caution. The ICBS and IMOH estimates are shown in tables 5.

Crude death rates have declined over the period of occupation, from approximately 20 deaths per 1,000 in the late 1960s to five deaths per 1,000 in the early 1990s. With the exception of a few years, especially during the second half of the 1970s, estimated death rates were slightly lower in the Gaza Strip than in the remaining West Bank. Lower Gaza death rates may be a result of greater access to health facilities provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and other philanthropic organizations.

The level of infant mortality is a better indicator of overall health conditions in a society than is the crude death rate. Available data show a substantial decrease in infant mortality in the occupied territories. The ICBS estimated that the infant mortality rate, which was around 100 deaths per 1,000 births in the mid-1970s in the West Bank, dropped to 70 in the early 1980s in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (Sabetello, 1984). These estimated rates are much higher than those of the IMOH, which are based on the registered data shown in table 6.

A joint survey conducted recently by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Jerusalem Family Planning and Protection Association (JFPPA) provides further evidence of a continuing decline in infant mortality. The survey covered a sample of 3,745 households selected using a multistage cluster design. Women were asked to provide information on their total number of children ever born and children surviving. Estimates of infant mortality for 1988 (table 7) were produced using the Brass method (Brass and others, 1968), and the salient findings are as follows:

Table 5. Crude death rates for the remaining West Bank, Gaza Strip
and non-Jewish population of Jerusalem, 1968 to 1993

Remaining West Bank
Gaza Strip
Year

ICBS

IMOH

ICBS

IMOH

Jerusalem (non-Jews)
1968 21.7 19.5
1969 20.4 18.9
1970 18.7 18
1971 17.8 16.9
1972 17.1 16 12.8
1973 15.7 17.1 7.7
1974 15.7 14.8 7.6
1975 14.8 15.8 7.1
1976 13.7 14.6 6
1977 12.5 12.8 6.5
1978 12.6 12.9 5.6
1979 11.4 13.4 5.4
1980 10.4 10.1 5.3
1981 9.9 9.2 4.8
1982 9.1 8.6 4.9
1983 9 8.3 4.8
1984 8.2 8.6 5.1
1985 7.6 7 4.3
1986 6.7 6.9 4.1
1987 6.5 5.2 3.9
1988 5.7 4.8 5.8 4
1989 5.9 4.8 5.9 4.8 4.3
1990 5.8 4.5 5.5 4.9 4.1
1991 6.8 4.6 6.2 4.9 4.1
1992 5.6 4.9 5.8 5.1
1993 4.9 4.7

Sources: The World Bank, 1993, p. 6; Israel Bureau of Statistics; Israel Ministry of Health, 1994, pp. 61 and 64.

Table 6. Israel Ministry of Health estimates of infant mortality rate for the remaining West Bank, Gaza Strip and non-Jewish
population of Jerusalem, 1967 to 1993

Year

Remaining West Bank

Gaza Strip

Jerusalem (non-Jews)

1967 34.0
1968
1969 86.0
1970 86.0
1971 86.0
1972 37.0 37.6
1973 77.0 34.6
1974 67.1 38.0
1975 38.1 69.3 36.5
1976 26.0 38.5
1977 63.0 36.7
1978 51.0 37.8
1979 47.0 37.4
1980 28.3 43.0 35.2
1981 52.0 32.8
1982 26.0 43.0 33.0
1983 29.0 38.0 28.5
1984 28.0 34.0 24.2
1985 25.1 33.4 26.1
1986 26.1
1987 24.4
1988 20.9 27.8 25.7
1989 22.6 29.2
1990 22.0 26.1 28.2
1991 18.1 28.3 30.0
1992 21.2 32.1
1993 21.4 31.9

Source: Israel Ministry of Health, various years.

Table 7. Infant mortality rate, 1988

Area

Rate per 1,000 births
Occupied territories 41
Males 39
Females 42
West Bank 44
Gaza Strip 34
Refugee camps 32
Towns 40
Villages 48

Source: Hassan Abu-Libdeh and others, A Survey of Infant and Child Mortality in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, UNICEF-JFPPA Survey (Jerusalem, 1992), p. 41.

(a) The infant mortality rate declined further from a level of 70 in the early 1980s to about 41 in 1988.

(b) The survey estimates are about twice as high as the rates reported by the IMOH, indicating that a substantial proportion of infant deaths is not registered.

(c) The West Bank has a higher infant mortality rate than the Gaza Strip. This areal difference may be linked to the proportion of population living in refugee camps. The Gaza Strip has a larger proportion of its population in refugee camps which, according to the survey, have lower infant mortality rates than do areas outside the camps.

(d) Female infant mortality is slightly higher than male infant mortality. This gender differential is dissimilar to the commonly observed pattern of higher male infant mortality, and may indicate a cultural preference for male children and a relative neglect of female infants.

Fertility

Fertility levels in the occupied territories are extremely high compared to most other countries. The total fertility rate for 1992, produced by combining official data (table 8) with data from the 1992 UNICEF-JFPPA survey (Adu-Libdeh, 1992), was 8.4 children per woman for the Gaza Strip and 5.9 children per woman for the West Bank. Available data indicate that the total fertility rate in the occupied territories has not been declining, and in fact there is evidence that fertility may have risen in recent years.

The only source that provides consistent data on fertility trends in the occupied territories is the ICBS, whose estimates are based on vital registration figures for the years after 1967 (table 8). Even though these data may have minor deficiencies, they can be considered reasonably indicative of fertility levels because birth registration in the occupied territories is nearly complete. The estimates show that the total fertility level of the population in the occupied territories remained very high during the Israeli occupation. The total fertility rate (TFR) was slightly lower during the first few years of occupation, perhaps due to relatively higher underregistration of births and a deficit of males in their teens and twenties owing to emigration. Fertility rose in the early 1970s and then declined, although slowly and somewhat erratically, from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. While information on the total fertility rate is not available for the period 1985-1991, data on the crude birth rate suggest that this decline was arrested; in fact, fertility rose during the intifadah (post-1987) years. Although there are indications that fertility began to decline again after 1991, the 1992 Gaza Strip TFR of 8 children per woman is equal to the highest rate ever recorded during the Israeli occupation (table 8 and 9). An increase in proportions married at younger ages during the intifadah years was a primary reason for this rise in fertility. In general, the Gaza Strip's high TFR level may be related to widespread access to health services, made possible in large part by the operations of international organizations within refugee camps.

To date, fertility in the occupied territories has not responded to conditions that usually are considered conducive to lowering it. Mortality has reached a fairly low level, and the level of education is relatively high. Yet, for the majority of the population in the occupied territories, fertility remains high. Cultural and political factors apparently have been more important in determining the level of fertility than have modernization characteristics. If peace comes to the area, a declining trend in fertility could emerge as a consequence of low mortality and higher levels of education in the occupied territories.

Table 8. Crude birth rate, general fertility rate and total fertility rate for the remaining West Bank and Gaza Strip, 1968 - 1993

Remaining West Bank
Gaza Strip

Year

CBR

GFR

TFR

CBR

GFR

TFR

1968 43.9 216 7.6 42.0 192 6.6
1969 43.3 211 7.5 46.7 209 7.7
1970 43.9 214 7.7 43.6 193 7.2
1971 45.9 225 7.8 46.8 206 7.4
1972 45.9 223 7.9 47.9 209 7.5
1973 45.5 219 7.8 48.3 210 7.6
1974 46.1 220 7.7 49.9 217 8.0
1975 45.4 217 7.7 51.5 215 7.7
1976 46.8 223 8.0 49.8 219 7.7
1977 46.0 215 7.7 48.2 215 7.4
1978 43.4 203 7.2 48.2 216 7.4
1979 44.1 205 7.3 46.8 209 7.0
1980 42.1 193 7.0 47.6 211 7.3
1981 41.8 191 6.9 47.3 209 7.2
1982 42.2 193 7.1 45.8 218 7.4
1983 42.3 193 6.7 45.0 207 6.8
1984 43.0 199 7.0 48.0 219 7.4
1985 41.3 45.4
1986 40.0 47.0
1987 41.3 47.7
1988 40.6 50.2 4.0
1989 43.1 53.8 3.0
1990 46.9 54.7
1991 47.3 56.1
1992 44.7 212 6.4 54.6 259 8.0
1993 38.8 52.4

Source: Israel Bureau of Statistics, Statistical Abstract of Israel, 1987, p. 34; and

Statistical Abstract of Israel, 1994.

Table 9. Age-specific and total fertility rates by area
of the occupied territories, 1992

Age-specific fertility rates
Age TOTAL WEST BANK GAZA STRIP
15-19 130.5 113.0 159.8
20-24 300.4 271.0 357.3
25-29 339.1 299.0 419.4
30-34 283.4 248.0 349.4
35-39 188.4 142.0 273.1
40-44 92.7 92.0 94.0
45-49 19.4 19.0 20.1
TFR 6.7698 5.9200 8.3655

Source: Palestinian Bureau of Statistics.

C. POPULATION PROSPECTS

To assess future population prospects in the occupied territories, are made using the cohort component method. In this method, assumptions are made concerning the future course of each of the population components -fertility, mortality and migration- and a projection is prepared by following each cohort of people throughout its lifetime by subjecting it to the assumed rates of mortality, fertility and migration. The base year for the occupied Palestinian territories projections is 1992. And the base year estimates of demographic characteristics and assumptions concerning their future course of change used in the projections are described below. The calculations are performed by using the U.S. Bureau of the census RUP population projection programme.

Base year population

For 1992, information on the age structure for the Gaza Strip and the West Bank was available from two sources: ICBS (1994) and the UNICEF-JFPPA (1992) survey. The age structure for each area for the current projections is a hybrid of the structures from the two sources.

Table 10. Population by age, sex, and area of the occupied territories, 1992

Total occupied territories West Bank Gaza Strip
Age Both sexes Male Female Both sexes Male Female Both sexes Male Female
Total 2,018,917 1,014,298 1,004,319 1,271,724 639,100 632,624 747,193 375,498 371,695
0-4 405,358 208,166 197,192 246,427 126,897 119,530 158,931 81,269 77,662
5-9 298,249 153,796 144,453 184,699 95,221 89,478 113,550 58,575 54,975
10-14 254,397 130,196 124,201 155,683 79,525 76,158 98,714 50,671 48,043
15-19 220,498 112,367 108,131 137,892 70,222 67,670 82,606 42,145 40,461
20-24 188,926 96,170 92,756 124,882 63,770 61,112 64,044 32,400 31,644
25-29 151,458 76,802 74,656 101,235 51,466 49,769 50,223 25,336 24,887
30-34 104,450 52,838 51,612 67,401 33,836 33,565 37,049 19,002 18,047
35-39 79,225 39,125 40,100 50,759 24,833 25,926 28,466 14,292 14,174
40-44 60,931 28,350 32,581 39,980 18,606 21,374 20,951 9,744 11,207
45-49 50,454 22,026 28,428 32,765 14,555 18,210 17,689 7,471 10,218
50-54 44,659 17,413 27,246 27,608 11,404 16,204 17,051 6,009 11,042
55-59 39,736 15,743 23,993 24,330 9,978 14,352 15,406 5,765 9,641
60-64 37,398 16,962 20,436 23,327 9,978 13,349 14,071 6,984 7,087
65-69 30,084 14,481 15,603 19,047 8,553 10,494 11,037 5,928 5,109
70-74 21,374 11,056 10,318 13,774 6,752 7,022 7,600 4,304 3,296
75-69 10,944 6,606 4,338 7,431 4,576 2,855 3,513 2,030 1,483
80+ 20,776 12,501 8,275 14,484 8,928 5,556 6,292 3,573 2,719

Source: Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, 1994; unpublished data for 1992, and Hassan Abu-Libdeh, 1994 unpublished tabulations from the 1992 UNICEF survey.

Notes: Population estimated by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics by using the ICBS age structure, 1992; UNICEF survey age structure, and total estimated size as shown in table 1.

There are two problems in using the ICBS age structure: (a) the age classification is not detailed enough to produce projections by five-year age groups; and (b) information on the age structure of migrants used for annually updating the age structure is very crude. Thus, the official age structure may not be a realistic representation of the true structure. The second problem, however, has a minimal effect on the population under the age of 10 years.

The age structure from the 1992 UNICEF-JFPPA survey appears to suffer from underreporting of children, a common problem with demographic surveys in developing countries. However, the age structure for ages 10 and over from the survey looked plausible and is accepted for the current projections after minor smoothing using the Arriaga technique (Arriaga, 1993). This smoothed UNICEF-JFPPA age structure was used to distribute the ICBS population aged 10 and over, adjusted for underestimation, into five-year age groups. For ages under 10, the ICBS population adjusted for 3 per cent underestimation was accepted. The age structures created in this way for the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are shown in table 10.

Mortality

Abdeen and Abu-Libdeh (1993), for their projections, evaluated existing information on infant mortality for the occupied territories and made assumptions concerning the future course of the infant mortality rate (IMR). They assumed that the IMR in the Gaza Strip (38 for males and 44 for females) and in the West Bank (42 for males and 48 for females) will be reduced by 50 per cent over the period 1987-2012. For the current projections, we accept this assumption and convert the 1987-1992 IMRs and 2007-2012 IMRs into life expectancy at birth using the Coale-Demeny West model life tables. A logistic curve is fit between 1987-1992 and 2007-2012 values to interpolate life expectancies at birth for the intermediate years. The low and high asymptotes used for the curve are 25 and 81 for males and 25 and 87 for females. The projected values of life expectancy at birth are given in table 11.

Fertility

Like the age structure, fertility estimates for the occupied territories are available from the ICBS and from the UNICEF-JFPPA survey (Abu-Libdeh, 1993). According to the ICBS, the 1992 total fertility rates for the Gaza Strip and the remaining West Bank are 8.0 and 6.4, respectively. However, the total fertility rate (TFR) is dependent on the age pattern of fertility. The ICBS age pattern of fertility is derived using reported births by age of mother and numbers of women by age from the official Israeli population age structure which, as described above, is not accepted for the current projections. A revised age fertility pattern was derived using the 1992 official reported births,2/ by age of mother, adjusted for 3 per cent underregistration, and the 1992 population age distribution prepared for the current projections. In addition, for the West Bank, appropriate allowance was made for births in East Jerusalem for which information on births by age of mother are not available. Data on age-specific fertility rates of non-Jews in Israel was used to estimate births by age of mothers in East Jerusalem. It is important to note that the Palestinians in East Jerusalem have substantially lower fertility rates than Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and remaining West Bank.

Table 11. Projected life expectancy at birth by area of the
occupied territories, 1992-2012

West Bank Gaza Strip
Year Both sexes Male Female Both sexes Male Female
1992 66.82 66.89 66.75 67.63 67.64 67.62
1995 67.88 67.87 67.90 68.53 68.46 68.60
2000 69.48 69.31 69.65 69.87 69.67 70.09
2005 70.96 70.63 71.30 71.14 70.79 71.51
2010 72.32 71.83 72.84 72.32 71.83 72.84
2012 72.82 72.26 73.40 72.76 72.21 73.33

Source: Palestinian Bureau of Statistics.

The age-specific fertility rates and TFRs for the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are shown in table 13. Overall, 1992 TFR for the total occupied territories

Table 12. Projected total fertility for the alternative series by
area of the occupied territories, 1992-2012

West Bank
Gaza Strip
Year Low Medium High Low Medium High
1992 5.92 5.92 5.92 8.37 8.37 8.37
1995 5.39 5.62 5.92 8.03 8.13 8.37
2000 4.53 5.11 5.92 7.20 7.61 8.37
2005 3.77 4.62 5.92 6.00 6.88 8.37
2010 3.19 4.17 5.92 4.67 5.97 8.37
2012 3.00 4.00 5.92 4.18 5.57 8.37

Source: Palestinian Bureau of Statistics.

is estimated at 6.8 children per woman. The TFR in Gaza of 8.4 is substantially higher than the TFR of 5.9 for the West Bank.3/

The three alternative projection series listed below were prepared based on different assumptions of future fertility. Mortality and migration were not varied.

1. Low fertility series. This series assumes that the TFR will decline by 50 per cent between 1992 and 2012 in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

2. Medium fertility series. This series assumes a decline of 33 per cent between 1992 and 2012.

3. High fertility series. This series assumes that the TFR will remain constant at the 1992 level.

For each series, the TFR values for intermediate years are estimated by fitting a logistic curve to the 1992 TFR and the assumed TFR for 2012. The low and high asymptotes used for fitting the curve are 2 and 9 children per woman. The TFRs used in the program for each series are reproduced in table 11.

Table 13. Projected levels of immigration for the occupied territories, 1992 to 1999

Year TOTAL WEST BANK GAZA STRIP
1992 11.901 6.801 5.100
1993 11.901 6.801 5.100
1994 75.000 45.000 30.000
1995 46.250 27.750 18.500
1996 46.250 27.750 18.500
1997 46.250 27.750 18.500
1998 46.250 27.750 18.500
1999 0 0 0

Source: Palestinian Bureau of Statistics.

International migration

Prior to 1990, both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank had net emigration. But since 1990, the number of people who returned to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank has been greater than the number who left. Beginning in 1994, owing to the autonomy agreement, a large number of Palestinians were expected to return to the occupied territories. The Palestinian development plan envisages 50,000 returnees each year for five years beginning in 1994. In addition, in 1994, 8,000 police officers were hired from outside the occupied territories. Since their families are expected to join them, 75,000 returnees are assumed for 1994. The projected numbers of returnees in 1995 and thereafter were accordingly reduced to retain the assumption of a total of 250,000 returnees during the period 1994-1999. Forty per cent of the total returnees were allocated to the Gaza Strip and sixty per cent to the West Bank. Table A.6 shows the number of net migrants assumed for the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Since families are expected to dominate the migration pattern for the next few years, a "normal" age-sex distribution was assumed for the migrants. The 1992 age-sex structure of the Jordanian population as estimated by the United States Bureau of the Census was accepted for distribution of the migrants by age and sex. The age-sex structure is assumed constant through 1998.

CONCLUSIONS

The results of these projections are summarized in table 8. Between 1995 and 2012, a duration of only 17 years, the OPT population will nearly double from 2.4 million to 4.7 million. Even in the no-post-1994 migration scenario, the OPT will have 2 million more people to feed, clothe and house in 2012 than in 1995.

Table 14. Projected population and selected derived measures
for the occupied territories, 1992 to 2012

No immigration after 1999
No immigration after 1995

Year

Total

West Bank

Gaza Strip

Total

West Bank

Gaza Strip

POPULATION
1992 2019 1272 747 2019 1272 747
1995 2389 1485 905 2364 1485 905
2000 3134 1925 1209 2853 1925 1209
2005 3730 2243 1487 3396 2243 1487
2010 4377 2587 1790 3985 2587 1790
2012 4650 2733 1917 4235 2733 1917
LABOUR FORCE
1992 977 630 348 978 630 348
1995 1158 741 418 1146 731 414
2000 1524 976 548 1376 873 5047
2005 1856 1182 674 1681 1059 622
2010 2295 1436 858 2086 1291 796
2012 2489 1544 945 2266 1388 878
DEPENDENCY RATIO
1992 107 102 115 107 102 115
1995 106 101 116 106 101 117
2000 106 97 121 107 98 123
2005 101 90 121 102 90 122
2010 91 80 109 91 80 109
2012 87 77 103 77 103
MEDIAN AGE
1992 16.1 16.7 15.1 16.1 16.7 15.1
1995 16.0 16.7 14.9 16.0 16.7 14.9
2000 15.9 16.9 14.3 15.7 16.8 14.1
2005 16.2 17.5 14.3 16.0 17.4 14.2
2010 17.2 18.7 15.2 17.1 18.6 15.2
2012 17.6 19.2 15.7 17.6 19.2 15.7

Source: United States Bureau of Census, International Programmes Center, International Data Base.

Notes: West Bank includes East Jerusalem.

Such a large increase in population size represents immense challenges for government planners to provide necessary services and infrastructure which currently are inadequate and need substantial upgrading (World Bank, 1994).

Another challenge that the OPT will face is to provide jobs to the growing labor force. The population of labor force age (15 to 64 years) will grow faster than the total population, and will more than double from the current 1.2 million to nearly 2.5 million by 2012. In 1991, labor force participation rates were only 39 percent in the West Bank and 34 percent in the Gaza Strip. Even assuming no change in these low rates, nearly 400,000 new jobs will need to be created by 2012 to keep the 1992 number of unemployed or underemployed from rising.

Since the 1967 war, while the labor force in the OPT nearly doubled, domestic employment opportunities increased by less than 25 percent. About 43 percent of the entire OPT labor force, 80,000 persons, were unemployed or underemployed in 1992. Until now, the OPT has relied heavily upon outside employment. The large labor surplus has been absorbed in mostly unskilled jobs in Israel. Many more Palestinians went to work in the Gulf states. According to the World Bank (1994), the future prospects for these labor markets are not promising. Expansion of domestic employment opportunities will be the biggest challenge for Palestinian authorities.

One positive change is the fall in the dependency ratio (persons aged 0-14 and 65+ per 100 persons of working age), which eases the potential social burden of supporting economically-dependent groups. The projected decline in this crude indicator--from 106 in 1995 to 87 in 2012--is the consequence of assumed decline in fertility in the OPT.

Footnotes

1/ Assumptions and methods used to estimate and project each of the Palestinian population are described in United States Bureau of the Census (1991). This source also includes a bibliography of major references used in the preparation of the projections.

2/ The distribution of the ICBS births by age of mother was not available, but was obtained by multiplying the ICBS age-specific fertility rates by the corresponding ICBS estimates of numbers of women, by age. The ICBS rates for ages 20 to 44 were available by 10-year age groups of women. These 10-year age group rates were converted into 5-year age groups by using information on fertility rates from the UNICEF survey, for which rates by both 5-year age groups and 10-year age groups were available. The 5-year age group rates for the ICBS were calculated by assuming that within each 10-year age group, the ratio of a 5-year rate to the 10-year rate as calculated from the UNICEF-JFPPA survey was valid for the ICBS rates.

3/ The 1992 UNICEF-JFPPA (Abu-Libdeh, 1992) survey estimate of TFR is higher (6.7 children per woman) than the estimate accepted for the current projections computed using reported births adjusted for assumed underregistration of 3 per cent. The UNICEF estimate is currently being evaluated for biases arising from the sampling representation of women from different localities. If the estimate is found to be accurate, than one would conclude that underregistration of births is much more serious than assumed in this study.

References

Abdeen, Ziad, and Hassan Abu-Libdeh. 1993. Palestinian Population Handbook, Part I, The West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Planning and Research Center, Jerusalem.

Abu-Libdeh, Hassan and others. 1992. A Survey of Infant and Child Mortality inthe West Bank and the Gaza Strip. UNICEF-JFPPA Survey. Jerusalem.

Arriaga, Eduardo E. and Associates. 1993. Population Analysis with Microcomputers. Volume I. United States Bureau of the Census, Washington, D.C.

Bachi, Roberto. 1977. The Population of Israel. Committee for International Coordination of National Research in Demography, Jerusalem.

Brass, William and others. 1968. The Demography of Tropical Africa. Princeton University Press.

Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS). Various years. Statistical Abstract of Israel. Jerusalem.

Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. 1994. Demography of the PalestinianPopulation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Jerusalem.

Sabetello, Eitan F. 1984. The Population of Administered Territories: SomeDemographic Trends and Implications." West Bank Data Project Working Paper, Jerusalem.

United States Bureau of the Census. 1987. Palestinian Arab Population: 1950 to 1984. Michael K. Roof and Kevin G. Kinsella, unpublished.

----- 1991. Palestinian projections for 16 countries/areas of the world, 1990 to 2010. Kevin G. Kinsella, unpublished.

----- 1994. Unpublished tables.

The World Bank. 1994. Developing the Occupied Territories, An Investment in Peace. Washington, D.C.