The Fertility of Palestinian Women in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan and Lebanon

By Marwan Khawaja


This article presents a largely descriptive account of reproduction among Palestinian populations in four settings: the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Jordan and Lebanon. Trends and differentials in fertility and contraceptive use are described using high-quality household survey data. Comparisons are made between the refugee and non-refugee populations. Issues related to family reproduction among Palestinian refugees are of particular policy concern because the demographic future of the Palestinians is largely determined by fertility. The findings show that refugee status can no longer be considered a fundamental distinguishing feature of Palestinian reproductive behaviour. On the one hand, variations in fertility-related indicators across countries far exceed those between refugees and non-refugees within the same setting. On the other hand, the refugee population has become more differentiated over the years, with those residing outside the camps generally having a different reproductive behaviour from their counterparts in camps. Thus, the camp versus non-camp distinctions are still relevant everywhere, notwithstanding the legal or circumstantial situation of the refugees residing in the various settings.

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