Demographers Caught Asleep at the Switch

Straight from the Jerusalem Cloakroom #187, February 03, 2006

1.  A 50% inflation in the number of Palestinians, promoted by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), has been exposed by a groundbreaking demographic study, "Arab Population in the West Bank and Gaza:  The Million Person Gap".  The PCBS numbers include 1.3 million non-residents, babies who have never been born, non-existing immigrants (while a substantial emigration overseas has taken place), emigrants into Israel's "Green Line" and Jerusalem Arabs. The latter have also been counted as Israeli Arabs (a double-count).


2.  Dr. Nick Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute, a leading US demographer, has praised the study at the Jan. 22-24, 2006 Herzliya Conference, which was attended by over 1,000 leaders of Israel's political, business and media sectors.


3.  ‘Forecast for Israel and West Bank 2025’ – which was also introduced at the Herzliya Conference - has documented a sustained Jewish majority west of the Jordan River and a brighter future for Jewish demography. Both documents are available at


4.  Dr. Nicholas Eberstadt: "…The conclusions of this report are not only plausible but quite persuasive.  Why?  Because it relies upon rigorous logic and simple, but very powerful, arithmetic to reach its results.  And because this arithmetic offers internally consistent reconstructions of overall trends the findings look not only defensible, but really quite robust…I want to salute Bennett Zimmerman and his Team for their path-breaking study…they caught the demographic professionals asleep at the switch.  Serious internal inconsistencies are evident in the data and estimates on the current demographic situation in the PA areas, and this report brilliantly reviews these…This study should be carefully read by professional demographers.  I hope it will impel not only local but also international statistical organizations to look at the PA demographic situation a little bit more carefully than they have been doing. Right now there are some fairly significant discrepancies in the PA’s own internal population estimates.  The Palestinian Ministry of Health estimates fertility levels for the population to be nearly 1.5 births per woman lower than other parts of the government.  That’s a 25% gap, right within official PA numbers.  There are also fairly important discrepancies between the estimates of the US Census Bureau and the UN Population Division, the two most authoritative international demographic projection providers…But now is the time for the demographic profession to seek truth from facts here, following the Zimmerman Team’s very important invitation.”


5.  "Arab Population in the West Bank and Gaza:  The Million Person Gap"  by Bennett Zimmerman, Roberta Seid PhD, and Michael L. Wise PhD was published by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies in February 2006.