Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Yara Jarallah ─ Marriage and Fertility under Occupation: A Study of the West Bank of Palestine

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

12 p.m.

McKinney Conference Room

Registration required. Register here.

This paper investigates the effects of the Israeli Occupation on the rate of marriage and fertility in the occupied Palestinian territories. We test three alternate theories that: (1) higher fertility is a political response to the existential threat associated with the expansion of settler communities (the minority status hypothesis), (2) larger numbers of checkpoints in a place isolate it from neighboring places, and narrows the accessible marriage market possibly increasing the age at marriage (the marriage market hypothesis), and (3) for families under stress the responses to both checkpoints and larger settlement populations will be to ‘double down’ on family – an earlier age at marriage and higher fertility within marriage despite fracturing of the marriage market (the family security hypothesis). This study uses data from the Palestinian Censuses of 1997 and 2007, conducted by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS). The West Bank is divided into 31 distinct geographic areas in this study, distinguishing urban, rural, and refugee camp localities in each of the 11 governorates. We test the hypotheses for women age 10 to 49 years in 2007, controlling for characteristics of their place of residence in 1997, marriage and fertility rates in 1997, and change in level of development from 1997 to 2007. The number of military checkpoints and the penetration of the settler population in each governorate measure the intensity of the Israeli Occupation. We find that marriage rates are higher among women who live in governorates with a larger number of checkpoints and a higher penetration of Israeli settlers, consistent with the family security hypothesis.

More Information

Middle East Studies

Yara Jarallah is a PhD candidate in Sociology and Population Studies. Her current research investigates changes in the family, including fertility and union formation, in light of political conflict and structural forces of control in two countries of the Arab World. She presented her work regularly at regional and international conferences and her work received support from the PSTC, Hewlett Foundation and the Population Reference Bureau. She is co-author of three peer-reviewed publications, including a paper on fertility decline in the West Bank and Gaza that appeared in the Journal of Population Research. Before coming to Brown she held positions with the United Nations Population Fund, the American University of Beirut and Birzeit University. Jarallah holds an MSc in Population Health from the American University of Beirut and a BA in Economics and Business from Birzeit University.