Israel's population approached the eight million mark nearing Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, according to a report released Wednesday by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Israel's population stands at 7,933,200, of which 5,978,600 (75.36%) are Jewish, 1,636,600 (20.62%) are Arabs- including Beduins and Druse, and approximately 318,000 (4%) are "other" - including non-Jews who have one Jewish grandparent and non-Arab Christians.
Israel's various population sectors continued to grow at vastly different rates in 2011; the Jewish population grew 1.8% while the Arab population grew at 2.4%. The Jewish growth rate remained largely steady in relation to recent years, while the Arab growth rate, still markedly higher than that of the Jewish population, continued a trend of rapid decline since 1996-2000 when the population was growing at a rate of 3.4%.
Israel remains young relative to other Western countries, boasting a far higher number of children (aged 0-14) per capita at 28.2% than the OECD average (18.5%.) However, the median age is aging, albeit slowly, with the number of people aged 75 and above reaching 4.8% from 3.8% in the early 1990s.
In terms of geographic distribution, the bulk of Israel's population continues to reside in the country's Center (40%,) including 48.7% of the country's Jewish population. The trend, however, is decreasing slightly as the population is slowly drifting towards the country's periphery. The Arab population remains heavily concentrated in northern Israel, where 60% of Arabs reside, primarily in the Galilee and Haifa areas.
Efforts to promote aliya to Israel continued to reap rewards, as the country welcomed 16,892 new immigrants in 2011, approximately 1.5% more than in the 2010. Most of the migrants were from Russia (3,678,) Ethiopia (2,666,) the US (2,363,) Ukraine (2,051) and France (1,775.)