On average, the Israeli fertility rate is significantly higher than that of any developed country. In fact, while other countries have seen a decline in births, Israel has seen an increase since the beginning of the century. This anomaly cannot be explained by the high birthrates of ḥaredi women (whose fertility rates have remained steady) or of Arab women (whose rates have declined). Shannon Roberts writes:
[T]he rise in Israel’s fertility over the last two decades has actually been largely driven by non-Orthodox Jewish women, whose average fertility rate is 2.2 children per family. This is [by itself] higher than any other country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Perhaps strangely, it has been increasing despite women having children later in life and working more. In fact, non-Orthodox Jewish women have higher employment rates than women in any other OECD country, except for Iceland.
Also unlike other Western countries, highly educated Israeli women have just as many children as their less educated counterparts. . . .
Some factors affecting fertility are the cultural and religious nature of life in Israel, and that women are able to balance work life with family life relatively easily, but this does not fully explain why Israel is so different from other OECD countries. Israel is doing well economically from a macro perspective, with GDP growth high (but not per capita), the standard of living increasing, and poverty levels falling slightly, [but this fact is likewise insufficient to explain the fertility rate].
[C]an the many countries grappling with how to increase their own fertility learn something of Israel’s secret?