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PCBS reports Palestinian population growth to 4.81 million

July 11, 2016 7:07 P.M. (Updated: July 12, 2016 1:29 P.M.)

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- On the occasion of International Population Day on Monday, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) revealed new data about the population in the occupied Palestinian territory, which it said now totaled 4.81 million people 2016.

According to PCBS, the occupied West Bank hosts an estimated 2.93 million Palestinians, while the besieged Gaza Strip is home to 1.88 million people.

PCBS did not give data regarding Palestinians living in Israel and abroad. However, the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS) estimated earlier this year that 20 percent of the population in Israel -- or 1.77 million people -- was Palestinian.

Based off of this data, the total population of Palestinians in historical Palestine, which includes present-day Israel -- some 6.58 million -- outnumbers the ICBS’ estimation of the Jewish Israeli population, which it said totaled 6.38 million, confirming 2014 projections by PCBS.

As of 2010, PCBS estimated that 4.88 million Palestinians lived in the Arab world, while another 626,824 lived in other countries.

Based off of these statistics, the global Palestinian population can be estimated to count more than 12 million people.

The Gaza Strip, already believed to be the most densely populated place on earth, has a population density of 5,154 persons per square kilometer, PCBS reported -- 10 times more than the West Bank density of 519 people per square kilometer.

Palestinians are overwhelmingly urbanized, with PCBS estimating that 73.9 percent of the population lives in urban areas, as opposed to 16.6 percent of in rural areas and 9.5 percent in camps.

PCBS added that the Palestinian population was fairly young, with 39.2 percent of Palestinians aged 14 and younger -- 36.9 percent of the population in the West Bank and 42.8 percent in the Gaza Strip -- while Palestinians more than 65 years old only constituted 2.9 percent of the population -- 3.2 percent in the West Bank, and 2.4 percent in Gaza.

Meanwhile, the profile of Palestinian families has been slowly changing, according to PCBS data. Women’s fertility rate has declined from six births per women in 1997 to 4.1 births in 2013 -- 3.7 births per woman in the West Bank compared to 4.5 births in Gaza. As a result, the average household size has gone down from 6.4 persons in 1997 to 5.2 in 2015.

Additionally, 2015 data revealed that 10.9 percent of Palestinian households were headed by women, although these households tended to be much smaller, constituted of an average of 2.9 persons.

Meanwhile, the total labor force participation rate for Palestinians ages 15 and up stood at 45.8 percent, with an average unemployment rate of 26.6 percent, with 18 percent unemployment in the West Bank and a staggering 41.2 percent in the Gaza Strip.

Women’s participation in the labor force remains very low, with 19.4 percent of women participating in the work force during the first quarter of 2016, compared to 71.6 percent of men. Women were also twice more likely to be unemployed than men, with a 42.8 percent of them unemployed compared to 22.3 percent of men.

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