In 1994 and 1995, a research team from Brigham Young University conducted a survey of residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Motivated in part by our strong interest as Latter-day Saints in understanding and strengthening family life, we wished to study several aspects of the Palestinian family including prominence of marriage, family size, gender roles, education of women, marriage between relatives, and location of residence after marriage. By comparing our data with that of earlier surveys, we can ascertain changes occurring in the Muslim world.
Generalization from a single study of the Arab-Muslim family is difficult, given the differences among urban, village, and rural residents in the Arab world. Sufficient similarities exist, however, within Arab Islamic countries to make possible some degree of generalization from Palestinian families to Muslim families in general. We surveyed several thousand Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, 99 percent of whom identified themselves as Muslim. Results from our study provide contemporary images of Muslim families in much of the Middle East.