The Moslem population in Israel-Statistics 2010
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 The Moslem population in Israel-Statistics 2010


At the end of 2010, the Muslim population in Israel was estimated at 1.321 million (almost 17.2% of the total population of Israel).

(Communicated by Central Bureau of Statistics)

Statistical summary

• At the end of 2010, the Muslim population in Israel was estimated at 1.321 million (almost 17.2% of the total population of Israel), an increase of about 35 thousand people compared to the end of 2009.

• The city with the largest Muslim population was Jerusalem with 272,000 people, 20.6% of the total Muslim population in Israel. The next largest concentration was in Rahat in southern Israel, with 53 thousand Muslims, then Nazareth, with 50,500 and Umm al-Fahm (near Haifa) with 47,300 Muslims.

• In 2010, the fertility rate (the average number of children a woman is expected to give birth to over her lifetime) in the Israeli Muslim population was 3.8 children per woman, down from 4.7 children in 2000.

• The percentage of Muslims aged 15 years and older in the civilian labor force in 2010 was 39.9% (60.3 % of the males and 19.2% of the females), compared to 60.6% among the Jewish population (which has a far higher rate of working women - 58.8%). The unemployment rate among Muslims was 9.2% compared to 6.5% among the Jews.

• 40% of the employed Muslim women work in education.

• In the 2010-2011 school year, 20,972 Muslim students studied at higher educational institutions in Israel.

• Almost a quarter (23.7%) of the students at academic teachers' colleges were Muslims.

• Monthly household consumption expenditures among Muslims totaled NIS11,527 ($3,087) compared to NIS13,997 ($3,749) in the Jewish sector.

•  Muslim households expended a higher percentage of their monthly budget on food (23.9%) than Jewish households (15.3%).

• Expenditures for education, culture and entertainment were more than twice as high in Jewish households (NIS1,878 - $503) as in Muslim households (NIS901 - $241).

• Most of the Muslim population aged 20 and older are satisfied with their lives - 42% are "very satisfied" (compared to 35% of the Jewish population) and 45% are "satisfied".

Demographic statistics

• At the end of 2010 the Muslim population was estimated at 1.321 million, an increase of 35,000 people compared to the end of 2009.

• The Muslim population growth rate is decreasing, from 3.8% in 2000 to 2.7% in 2010. It is still the population with the largest growth rate in Israel: the growth rate of the Jews in 2010 was 1.7%, of the Druze 1.8%, and of the Christians 0.9%.

• More than half of the Muslim population is concentrated in the north (14.3% in the Haifa district and 36.9% in the rest of the north). Another 21.3% live in the Jerusalem district. The rest live in the central district (11.2%) and the southern district (15.2%). Only 1.1% live in the Tel Aviv district.

• The largest concentration of Muslims is in Jerusalem - about 272,000, 34.5% of the city's total population, and 20.6% of all Muslims in Israel. The city with the second-largest Muslim population is Rahat in the Negev, with 53,000 Muslim residents - 99.8% of the total residents of the city. Other cities with a high concentration of Muslims are Nazareth, with 50,500 Muslims and Umm al-Fahm, with 47,300.

• The Muslim population is a young population - the percentage of children is high and the percentage of elderly is low. Among the Muslims, 39.1% are age 0-14 (about 516,000) and only 3.5% are 65 years or older (about 46,000).

• The total fertility rate (the average number of children a woman is expected to give birth to during her lifetime) has been going down in recent years - from 4.7 children in 2000 to 3.8 children in 2010.

• Fertility among Muslim women is higher than among other religious groups in Israel: Jewish - 3 children, Druze 2.5, Christians 2.1. It is also higher than in some of the other Muslim states in the region: 3.2 children in Syria, 2.9 in Egypt, 2.1 in Turkey and in Lebanon.

• In 2009, the average age of (first) marriage among Muslim men was younger than in the other religions (26.2 years, compared to 28.0 among Jews, 27.5 among Druze, and 29.7 among Christians).

• In the same year, the average age of Muslim women marrying for the first time was 21.4 years, younger than among Jewish women (25.7), Druze women (22.8) and Christian women (25.1).

• The Muslim population consists of 243,000 households, 11% of the total households in Israel.

• The average Israeli household consists of 5 people. Most (95%) of the households are family-based, consisting of one or more families. The majority of the non-family-based households (93%) consist of one person living alone.

• 39% of households headed by a Muslim consisted of 6 or more people, compared to 9% of households headed by a Jew.

• In Israel there are about 237,000 Muslim families. Most (71%) consist of a couple with children where at least one child is under the age of 17; 8% are couples without children; 4% are single-parent families with children where the youngest is under the age of 17.

• The average number of children under the age of 17 in Muslim families with young children is 3.06, whereas the average in Jewish families is 2.25.


• In 2010 the percentage of Muslims in the civilian labor force  was 39.9% (60.3 % among men and 19.2% among women). The percentage of working Muslim women was significantly lower than in the Jewish, Druze and Christian sectors (58.8%, 21.2% and 52% respectively).

• The percentage of unemployed Muslims aged 15 and older was 9.2%.

• 65% of employed Muslims work in four main branches of the economy: about 21% in construction; about 17% in wholesale and retail commerce or auto mechanics; about 14% in education; and about 13% in industry.

• 28% of Muslim males are employed in the construction industry, about 18% in the wholesale/retail business or in auto mechanics, and about 16% work in industry.

• 81% of employed Muslims work in four main occupations: about 42% are skilled workers in industry, construction and other places; about 16% are agents, salespersons and service industry employees; about 13% are unskilled workers and 11% are engaged in technical and free professions.

• About 40% of Muslim females work in education, about 11% in wholesale/retail or auto mechanics, and about 6% in industry.

• 179,900 Muslim households (75% of all Muslim households) have at least one employed member.

• In about 11% of Muslim households, all members are employed, compared to 15% among the Druze and 28% among the Christians.

• Crowding index: The average number of persons per room in a Muslim household is 1.56 (Druze 1.34, Christians 1.16).


Higher education and science - Arab students 2010-11

• In the 2010-11 school year 20,972 Muslim students studied at institutions of higher learning in Israel. Of them, 8,238 studied at universities, 2,467 studied at the Open University, 3,583 at academic colleges and 6,684 students studied at academic teachers' colleges.

• Out of the total Muslim student population, 87.2% studied for a bachelor's degree, 10.7% studied for a master's degree, 1.3% studied for a doctorate, and 0.9% studied for an academic certificate.

• Muslim students constituted 7.3% of all students in Israel.

• Muslim students constituted 8.1% of all students studying for a bachelor's degree, 4.6% of those studying for a master's, and 2.6% of all students studying for a doctorate.

• Muslim students constituted 6.8% of all students at universities, 5.4% at the Open University, 4% at academic colleges and 23.7% of all students at academic teachers' colleges.

• At Beit Berl College, 46% of the students were Muslims; at the Zefat Academic College 32.5%; at the University of Haifa 12.8%; at the Weizmann Institute 1.5%.

• Fields of study: 15.6% of all students studying for a bachelor's degree in Israel majored in education, while 42.5% of all Muslim students majored in this field. The percentage of Muslim students in the paramedical fields was also higher (9.6%) than that of the general student population (4.4%). The percentage of bachelor students majoring in the field of engineering and architecture was 17.1% of all undergraduates compared to 7.2% of the Muslims; business and management 11.3% of all students vs. 4.4% of Muslim students; agriculture 0.4% vs. 0.1%; and in the field of the arts, 4% vs. 0.7%.

• The median age of Arabs studying for a bachelor's degree was 22.3 years compared to 25.3 years among all undergraduates. Among Muslim master's students, the median age was 30.2 years, similar to the median age of the general population of master's students (30.4). The median age of PhD students was 36.2 years among Arabs and 33.4 among the general doctoral student population.

• Women accounted for 68.6% of all Muslims studying for a bachelor's degree, compared to 55.9% of the general undergrad population. Among Muslim master's students, 59.6% were women vs. 57.9%. Women accounted for 39.6% of all Muslim doctoral students, and 52.7% the total doctoral student population.

Figures for household expenditures 2010

The total monthly consumption expenditures in Muslim households were on the average 82% of those in Jewish households - NIS11,527 ($3087) compared to NIS13,997 ($3749).

Table 1: Breakdown of monthly consumption expenditures


Muslim households

Jewish households











Food (without fruit & veg.)





Fruit & vegetables










Housing maintenance





Furniture & goods for home





Clothing & footwear










Education, culture & entertainment





Transportation & communications





Other goods & services





Muslim households spend more on food (NIS2751 - $737, including fruit and vegetables) than Jewish households (NIS2144 - $574).

Jewish households spend twice as much on education, culture and entertainment as Muslim households.

Table 2: Monthly expenditures on selected food items


Muslim household

Jewish household

Sliced bread

Specialty breads

Pita bread

Breakfast cereal


Turkish coffee

Instant coffee

Meat and poultry

Soft drinks

Dining out





















Muslim households spend 11 times more on pita bread than Jewish households.

Muslim households spend 2.5 times more on meat and poultry than Jewish households.

Jewish households spend 1.7 times more on dining out than Muslim households.

Selected data from the 2010 Social Survey

Most of the Muslim population aged 20 and older are satisfied with their lives - 42% are "very satisfied" (compared to 35% of the Jewish population) and 45% are "satisfied". Satisfaction with the economic situation is lower - 23% of adult Muslims profess to be "very satisfied" with their economic situation, while among the Jewish population, only 11% are "very satisfied".

Degree of satisfaction among Muslim adults

The majority of the Muslim population is optimistic: almost two-thirds (64%) believe that their lives will be better in the coming years (compared to 54% of the Jews), 20% believe that their lives won't change, and 9% think their lives will be less good.

More than half of the Muslims were optimistic about their financial situation: 57% believe it will improve (compared to 47% of the Jews), 25% believe it won't change, and 10% think their economic situation will worsen.

Among employed Muslims, 81% are satisfied with their work (33% are "very satisfied" and 48% are "satisfied"). Satisfaction with income is lower - 58% are satisfied with their income (14% "very satisfied" and 44% "satisfied").

Job and income satisfaction among working adult Muslims in 2010

Residential area

25% of Muslims are "very satisfied" and 55% are "satisfied" in general with the residential area in which they live. Among Jews, 35% are "very satisfied" and 50% are "satisfied". Muslims are less satisfied with the level of cleanliness - only 4% are "very satisfied", 35% are "satisfied" and the rest, 65%, are not satisfied. Among the Jews, 41% express dissatisfaction with the cleanliness of their residential areas. Concerning parks and green spaces, satisfaction goes down to 12%.

An area in which satisfaction is particularly high is relations with neighbors - 90% of the Muslim population profess to be satisfied with their relations with their neighbors.

Note: Most of the figures in this report are from 2010.

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