Number of Unwed Israeli Live-in Couples More Than Doubles in Last Decade

Report released by the Central Bureau of Statistics indicates that 73,000 unwed couples were living together in Israel in 2011; while the trend is on the rise, it is still much less prevalent than in Europe and the U.S.

Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet

The number of unwed Israeli couples living together is growing, according to a Central Bureau of Statistics report released yesterday, although they still constitute only 5 percent of all couples sharing a household.

According to the report, published in honor of Family Day, there were 73,000 couples living together but not married to each other in Israel in 2011. The number of Jewish couples living together but not married is 2.5 times greater than it was a decade ago. However, the 5 percent figure is still relatively small; in Denmark, 26 percent of couples living together are not married, while in Holland, the figure is 20 percent. In the United States it is 11 percent and in Italy, 6 percent.

The report also revealed that 63 percent of all families in Israel consist of a couple with children. Twenty-four percent of families are a couple without children and the rest, approximately 12 percent, are single-parent families.

Among Jews, the Tel Aviv area had the smallest families 3.2 people per family unit, while the Jews in the West Bank had the largest families 4.7 people per family. Tel Aviv also had the highest rate of childless families 42.3 percent, followed by Haifa, Rishon Letzion, Ashdod and Petah Tikva. The city with the smallest proportion of childless families was Jerusalem with 24 percent.
Jerusalem also had the most families with children under 17 years of age 55 percent of all families. Following it was Ashdod, Petah Tikva, Rishon Letzion and Haifa. Tel Aviv families had the smallest proportion of children under 17 31 percent.

Six percent of families, or 107,000 of them, consist of a single parent and children under 17. That number is also on the rise; a decade ago only 89,000 families fit this category. Haifa had the largest proportion of single-parent families in the country and Petah Tikva had the smallest. The number of unmarried single moms rose from 8,400 in 2000 to 13,500 in 2011 an increase of 60 percent.

The average family size in Israel is 3.7 people. Among Jews the average is 3.5 and among Arabs, 4.8. Among Jewish families, 13.5 percent have four or more children, while among Arabs the figure is 30 percent. About one third of Arab families consist of six or more members three times the proportion of Jewish families of that size.

Newlyweds kiss.Credit: AP

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