New Year statistics: Israel's population hits 7.6 million

CBS data released ahead of Rosh Hashana 5771 shows increase in Jewish, Christian birthrates, 28% of population under age of 14.

By RONEN SHNIDMAN
September 6, 2010 14:48
3 minute read.
Cute baby

cute baby 311. (photo credit: courtesy)

As the Jewish New Year 5771 approaches, Israel's population continues to grow, according to Central Bureau of Statistics data released on Monday. The population now stands at 7,645,000 people, continuing to grow at a steady rate of 1.8 percent per year for the seventh year in a row.

Jews number some 5,770,000, or 75.5 % of the population; Arabs total 20.3%, or 1,559,100 people. The remainder, 4.2%, are classified as "other," and are mostly immigrants from the former Soviet Union who are not registered by the Interior Ministry as Jews.

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The CBS  statistics show that Israel is still a fairly young nation, with nearly 28% of the population under the age of 14, compared to 17% in most Western countries. Only 10% of Israelis are older than 65, whereas in other Western countries the average is closer to 15%.

There were 161,042 babies born in 2009, an increase of 2.6% over the previous year and pushing the average Jewish family size up to 2.88 children. In the Muslim community, the average number of children per mother  continued to drop to 3.73, having been 3,84 children per mother in 2008. Among Christian families, the average number of children increased to 2.15 in 2009.

The ratio of men to women remains consistent, with slightly more women than men, especially later in life. According to the CBS, there are 979 men for every 1,000 women; in the under-30 set there are more men, but the over-75 age group offsets this, with some 680 men for every 1,000 women. More than 50,038 couples registered to marry in 2009, with 75% of them Jews and 21% Muslim. Divorces numbered 13,488. Among those ending their marriage, 84% were Jews and only 10% Muslims.

The majority of the Jewish population is located in the coastal plain, including Tel Aviv, while 60% of the Arabs live in the North. In fact, while one-fifth of Israelis live in the North, less than 10% of Jewish Israelis in there. In the South, the split falls in the opposite direction; only 13% of the people there are Arabs, most of them Beduin. Jerusalem and the coastal plain saw the largest growth in population in 2008, with a rise of 2.4% and 2.1%, respectively while cities such as the Haifa and North regions saw smaller increases in the range of 1%. There has been a steady rise in the proportion of native Israelis. During the early years of the state, only 35% of the Jewish population had been born here, but by the end of 2009 that figure had increased to 71.7%.

When the state was established, there were only 806,000 residents, with this number reaching its first and second million in 1949 and 1958, respectively. In 1990, Israel's population hit 5 million and in 1998, after the wave of immigration from the former Soviet Union, it numbered 6 million. The population is expected to reach 10 million by 2030, according to CBS projections.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu thanked CBS Director Pro. Shlomo Yitzhaki for the comprehensive work that went into creating this years Statistical Abstract of Israel, after receiving this year's abstract from him.

"These data are very important in studying various trends, including the demographic and economic. Our joining the OECD this year has helped improve [Israel's] data collection standards,' said Netanyahu.


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