The Muslim population in Israel: What is the average age of marriage and how many have completed a bachelor’s degree?

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At the end of 2019, the Muslim population in Israel was estimated at 1.636 million people, constituting 17.9% of the total population of the State of Israel. This was reported by the Central Bureau of Statistics, which today (Tuesday) published data on the Muslim population ahead of the Feast of Sacrifice. The CBS noted that the Muslim population in Israel increased by 37,000 during 2019 and the growth rate was 2.3%, similar to 2018.

The growth rate of the Muslim population was higher last year compared to the Jewish population of 1.6% last year and that of the Christian population – 1.6% and the Druze – 1.3%. Jerusalem (in the east of the city) has the highest number of Muslim residents – 346,000, which constitutes 21.1% of all Muslims in Israel and 36.9% of all residents of the city.

The data also show that about half of the Muslim population lives in the north of the country – 35.2% in the northern district and 13.7% in the Haifa district. 17.1% live in the Southern District, 10.3% in the Central District and 1.2% in the Tel Aviv District. The highest number of Muslims lives in East Jerusalem – 345.8 thousand. 71.3 thousand Muslims live in Rahat, 56,000 in Umm al-Fahm, 55.6 thousand in Nazareth, 43.9 thousand in Taibeh, 34.3 thousand in Tamra, 30.1 thousand in Sakhnin, 29.9 thousand in Baqa al-Gharbiya, 26.5 thousand in Tira and 25.8 thousand in Shefar’am.

Muslims pray outside Nablus Gate (Photo: Mark Israel Salem)
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In addition, CBS data indicate that the Muslim population in Israel is relatively young, with the rate of children aged 14-0 standing at 33.4% and the rate of those aged 65 and over being significantly lower at 4.3%.

In 2018, the average marriage age of first-time Muslim grooms was 26.5 and of first-time Muslim brides – 22.6, lower than for other religious boys and girls in the country.

The total fertility rate (the average number of children a woman is expected to give birth to in the king of her life) in the Muslim population dropped from 3.20 children per woman in 2018 – to 3.16 children per woman in 2019. This compares with 3.09 children for a Jewish woman, 1.80 for a Christian woman and 2.2 for a Druze woman.

The data also show that 63.4% of those who took the matriculation exams in Arab education in 2019 were entitled to a matriculation certificate, compared with 80.2% in Hebrew education. The proportion of Muslims among all degree recipients in Israel (in the 2019-2018 school year) reached 10%, compared with 6.7% five years ago. However, even now the relative proportion of Muslims who have received degrees is significantly lower than the relative share of 32-22 year olds in the Israeli population – 20%.

In addition, it turns out that the labor force participation rate in 2019 among Muslims aged 15 and over was 43% – 59% among men and 26.8% among women.

The data also show that 50.8% of Muslim households have a computer, compared with 81% of Jewish households and 49.7% of them have an Internet subscription (compared with 78.5% of Jewish households).

In 2019, the Ministry of Labor, Welfare and Social Services registered about 307,000 Muslims, a rate of about 188 per thousand people, compared with a rate of 109 per thousand people among Jews. In 2018, 30.1% (7,800) of those convicted in criminal trials, who are residents of Israel, were Muslims.



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