Birth Rate Statistics Released:

The rate of natural increase has declined in Israel since 1971, even among the Arab population. Jewish mothers of Oriental origin now have the highest birth rate, according to a statistical study released today by Dr. Moshe Sikron, a government statistician.

Israel’s total population is 3.3 million, of which 2.8 million are Jews. During 1972, the population increased by 105,000 or 3.3 percent over 1971. Dr. Sikron reported. But the rate of natural increase dropped from 2.9 births per woman in 1971 to 2.7 in 1972 among women born in Western countries.

There was a similar decline in births by native born women and women of Asian and African origin. But the latter had an average of 3.8 children in 1972 compared to 3.4 children born to Christian Arab mothers. The Arab birth rate generally has shown a decline, according to the statistics.

Immigration figures dropped slightly. During the first nine months of this year 39,000 immigrants arrived in Israel compared to 41,000 in the same period last year.