Number of Palestinians to exceed Israelis by 2020

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Palestinian protestors hurl stones at Israeli security forces during clashes in the West Bank village of Tamoun, near Jenin on January 1, 2013 (AFP/Getty Images).

Palestinian protestors hurl stones at Israeli security forces during clashes in the West Bank village of Tamoun, near Jenin on January 1, 2013 (AFP/Getty Images).

By 2020 the number of Palestinians will exceed the number of Israelis in historical Palestine, according to a survey by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.

The population of Palestinians in Israel and the Palestinian territories in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip was 5.8m at the end of 2012, according to the bureau, compared with about 6m Jews, according to estimates by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics.

By the end of 2016 the number of Palestinians and Jews will total about 6.5m each. However assuming current growth rates remaining the same the number of Palestinians in historical Palestine will total 7.2m compared to 6.9m Jews by the end of 2020.

There are an estimated 11.6m Palestinians in the world, of whom 4.4m are in the Palestinian territories, 1.4m in Israel, 5.1m in Arab countries and around 655,000 in other countries. More than a third of the population is in the Gaza Strip.

The total fertility rate of Palestinians in the territories has declined to 4.4 births during 2008-2009 compared with 6.0 births in 1997, with the rate in Gaza during the period averaging 5.2 births compared to 4.0 births in the West Bank. The rates have been constant with no significant changes, according to the bureau.

The total fertility rate in 2011 among Palestinians living in Israel was 3.3 births compared to 3.0 births among Jews.

The average household size in the Palestinian territories is 5.6 individuals in 2012 compared with 6.4 in 1997, an average of 5.3 persons in the West Bank and 6.1 persons in Gaza.

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