Gaza Facts: Maternity, Mortality, and Mobile Phones

In the past week, there have been repeated calls for Israel to lift the arms embargo on the Gaza Strip, and allow Hamas to receive uninspected goods at the Gaza port. This, despite the fact that Hamas has fired thousands of missiles at Israeli communities, has called for the genocide of Jews, and continues to declare itself at war with the Jewish state.

Some say none of this matters, and that Israel and Egypt must open up their blockade and allow the free-flow of goods into Gaza, because the people of Gaza are suffering.

Without doubt, life in Gaza is difficult under the Hamas regime. But are Gazans experiencing a humanitarian crisis? The amount of direct aid Israel provides to Gaza is astounding, but let’s take a look at three telling indicators, courtesy of the CIA World Fact Book.

Infant Mortality

Countries experiencing humanitarian catastrophes have seen devastating levels of infant mortality. In Niger, the rate is 114 deaths per 1,000 births. In Somalia, it’s 107.

In Gaza, the rate of infant mortality is 17.71 per 1,000 births. That’s better than Mexico, Brazil, and Vietnam. In fact, it’s better than most places on Earth – with a global average of 44 deaths per 1,000 births.

General Mortality

The CIA World Fact Book also measures the “death rate”, which is the number of deaths per 1,000 population at mid-year. Again, those countries with the highest rates are in Africa, including Angola (23), Zambia (21), and Mozambique (19).

Where does Gaza rank? 8th lowest mortality rate in the world. That’s right – better than Canada, the United States, and every country in Europe. Better than Israel, actually:

United Kingdom 10.0
France 8.65
United States 8.38
World Average 8.37
Canada 7.87
Israel 5.45
Gaza 3.36

No doubt, Gaza's low median age of 17.5 contributes to this effect. But the relatively low infant mortality rates and relatively high life expectancy (almost 73.68 years – higher than the world average of 66.12) demonstrate that life in Gaza is far from a humanitarian crisis.

Mobile Phones

The CIA World Fact Book also lists the number of cell phones per jurisdiction. Needless to say, those with the lowest rates of mobile phones (per population) are those countries facing severe humanitarian difficulties of some form or another:

Bangledesh 29%
Sudan 27%
Uganda 26%
Somalia 6%
Ethiopia 4%
Cuba 3%

And Gaza? The CIA World Fact Book lists the number of mobile phones combined for both Gaza and the West Bank – with a total of 2.405 million cell phones. In terms of population – that’s a mobile phone market penetration of 58%. That’s better than India (46%) and Bolivia (49%). In fact, that’s just slightly below Canada’s mobile phone penetration rate – which is 64%.

Again, life in Gaza cannot be easy under Hamas. But the stats speak louder than rhetoric.