Illustration: Children playing in a park
Illustration: Children playing in a parkIsrael news photo: Flash 90

At 65 years old Israel is a young country - in more ways than one.

According to data released Monday by the Central Bureau of Statistics. Children under 17 years of age constituted fully one third of Israel's population in 2012.

Altogether there were 2.626 million children in Israel in 2012, 70% of them ( 1.846 million) Jewish. 702,000, or 27%, were Arabs (619,000 Muslims, 46,400 Druze, 36,400 Christian Arabs), while 3% (78,000) were classified as “other.” The latter category includes children from families who claimed no religion, as well as to non-Arab Christian families.

The ancient city of Jerusalem is even younger than the national average. 40% of the capital's population is 17 or under, while in Tel Aviv, only one of out of five residents were in that age group.

Jerusalem also came in second with the number of household members who were children. Among families in the city, the average number of children aged 17 and under in a household was 3.1, bested only by the hareidi-majority city of Bnei Brak, where the average was 3.5. The national average is 2.4 in cities with 100,000 residents or more.

Eight percent of Jewish children live in one-parent families, as do 6% of Arab children. Among families from the former Soviet Union, that figure was 13.2%.

In 2012, 10.2% of all children – including 8% of Jewish children and 16.3% of Arab children – lived in a household where the head of the household was unemployed. A total of 17% (449,000) of all children 17 and under were listed as receiving some form of assistance by welfare authorities last year.

Having kids isn't cheap. In 2012, households with children (one or more) spent an average of NIS 14,272 per month on their household budget, and 76.1% of them owned one or more cars. The average monthly outlay for households without children was NIS 12,432 per month, and only 57.1% of these households owned a car.

Some 171,000 babies were born in 2012, 125,400 of them to Jewish women, and 36,000 to Muslim women. The most popular names for those babies: Noam, Uri and Itai for the boys, and Noa, Shira, and Tamar for the girls.