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MJB Data Snapshot: The Bedouin in Israel

Demography

  •       In 2014, there were 231,000 Bedouins living in Israel’s Southern District, up from 115,000 in 2000 and 201,000 in 2010. 1 They are spread across 18 recognized localities and many unrecognized villages. It is estimated that in 2014, 76% of the population lived in recognized localities and 24% in unrecognized villages. 
  •      The rapid growth over the past 14 years is related to the high fertility rates, though these have declined somewhat in recent years. In 2007, the Bedouin fertility rate was 7.14 whereas it dropped to 5.5 in 2014. Nonetheless, the Bedouin fertility rate remains much higher than for all Arab-Israelis (3.4) and for the total population of Israel (3.1). 2  

 

Education 3

 

There has been significant progress for Bedouin girls in educational achievements at high school since 2001, However, for boys, there has not been progress over this period.

High school matriculation

  • The rate of eligibility for a university-level matriculation certificate increased among the Bedouin from 12% in 2001 to 20% in 2014 (Figure 1). The overall rate remains well below the average for all Arabs 4 and for Jews 5 (34% and 50% respectively).
  • However, the rate for boys has declined slightly whereas for girls, there has been a very significant increase since 2001 from 13% to 30% in 2014, to a level three times the rate for boys (10%). 

  • Between 2001 and 2014, the rate of eligibility for a general matriculation certificate has not risen and has remained at 30% over this period. The rate for girls is double that of the boys (41% and 20% respectively)

     

Percentage Not completing High School (Dropout Rate)

  • In 2014, the dropout rate of 36% among Bedouin was much higher than it was for all Arabs 4 (22%) and the overall population 5 (16%).

  • Between 2001 and 2014, the dropout rate for Bedouin girls dropped from 42% to 31%.  By contrast, there was a disturbing increase for boys from 32% to 41% in the same period.    

Higher Education    

  • Between 2008 and 2014, the number of Bedouin students in all Israeli academic institutions more than doubled from 1,313 to 2,822 (Figure 2).  
  • The percentage increase is much higher among Bedouin women pursuing higher education, which is consistent with the dramatic improvement in their matriculation rates.  

 

Employment

Because the number of Bedouin living in unrecognized villages is not accurately reflected in national surveys, employment data among the Bedouin is limited to those living in recognized localities.  Figure 3 shows data from the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics’ Labor Force Survey

• The employment rate of Bedouin men is more than double that of Bedouin women (61%, compared to 28%).

• Both Bedouin men and women are employed at lower rates than are other Arabs. 

• The employment gaps are even greater between Bedouin men and women and Jewish men and women. .

  • Between 2001 and 2014, the rate of eligibility for a general matriculation certificate has not risen and has remained at 30% over this period. The rate for girls is double that of the boys (41% and 20% respectively)

     

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