Source of Fertility Change in a Population under Military Occupation

Weeam S. Hammoudeh, Brown University
Dennis Hogan, Brown University

While significant reductions in fertility have occurred in much of the Arab world, Palestinian fertility has come to be termed as a ‘demographic puzzle’ due to the persistence of high fertility despite favorable levels of women’s education, urbanization, infant mortality, and access to contraception compared to other Arab countries. This paper investigates whether declines in Palestinian fertility have occurred because of changing marriage patterns, the greater use of contraceptives to control birth spacing and family size, or changes in patterns of breastfeeding. This paper uses the Bongaarts framework for analyzing the proximate determinants of fertility to examine factors in the high fertility of Palestinians and proximate determinants of fertility trends in the occupied Palestinian territory between 1996, 2000, 2006, and 2010. Results indicate that while Palestinian fertility remains unusually high, recent fertility declines are associated with changes in contraceptive use and postpartum infecundability (associated with increased breastfeeding).

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Presented in Poster Session 4