'Israel's population multiplied by 10 since founding of the state'

The Jewish population in the country represents about 6.337 million residents -74.8 percent of the total population

May 9, 2016 14:33
3 minute read.
A baby

A baby sits in front of an Israeli flag. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


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As Israel prepares to celebrate its 68th birthday, the Central Bureau of Statistics announced Monday that the Jewish state has today 8.522 million citizens, 10 times more than at its founding in 1948.

According to the report, the Jewish population in the country represents 6.337 million residents – 74.8 percent of the total population – and the Arab population stands at 1.771 million people – 20.8% of the country’s inhabitants.

The remaining 4.4%, approximately 374,000 people, represent non-Arab Christians and people of other religions, as well as those with no religious affiliation, the vast majority of them from the former Soviet Union.

The report cited that at independence on May 14, 1948, there were 11.5 million Jews in the world, of whom six percent were living in Israel. In contrast, in 2014 there were 14.3 million Jews in the world, 43% of whom were living in Israel. The country is rapidly approaching the tipping point where the majority of the world’s Jews will be living in Zion.

The data also revealed that Israel’s population is expected to hit 11.3 million by 2035.

Since last year, the country’s population grew by some 182,000 people, marking a 2.2% increase, the report found.

In addition, the figures showed that 195,000 babies were born this past year, while 47,000 deaths were recorded.

With regard to aliya, 36,000 immigrants arrived in Israel this past year.

According to the report, three quarters of Israel’s Jewish population are sabras, native-born Israelis. This figure is more than double the percentage in 1948.

This year’s report compared today’s Israel and the newborn state in a number of areas.

For example, in 1948 Israel had only one city – Tel Aviv – with more than 100,000 residents.

(Jaffa was annexed to Tel Aviv in 1950.) Today, 14 cities have populations of more than 100,000 residents, of which eight – Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Haifa, Rishon Lezion, Ashdod, Petah Tikva, Netanya and Beersheba – have more than 200,000 residents.

The report found that in 2015, Israel’s GDP stood at NIS 1,108.8 billion – 44 times greater than in 1950, when Israel’s GDP stood at NIS 25.1 billion.

Furthermore, the data showed that in 1955, Israel faced a 7.2% unemployment rate compared to 5.3% in 2015.

In regard to what Israelis spend their money on, the data indicated that in 1956/1957, Israelis spent 42% of their monthly expenditures on food, compared to 16.2% in 2014.

In contrast, in 1956/1957 Israelis spent three percent of their monthly expenditures on transportation and communications, compared to 20% in 2014.

The report also compared household appliance ownership then and now. The data revealed that in 1956/1957, 12% of Israelis had a washing machine, 57% had an ice box and 37% had a refrigerator.

In 2014, 96% of Israelis had a washing machine and 99.9% owned a refrigerator.

In 1957, only 10% of the population had air conditioning, while in 2014 87% of Israelis owned an air conditioner.

In 1963, only 13% of Israelis owned a telephone while in 2014, 73% own a landline and 96% have at least one cellphone.

Regarding transportation, in March of 1951 there were 34,103 vehicles in Israel. That number has increased 87-fold, so that in 2014 there were 2,965,727 vehicles on the country’s roads and highways.

Similarly, in 1950 there were only 1,557,000 train passengers compared to 48,541,000 million people riding the rails in 2014.

In higher education, Israel also took giant steps forward.

In the 1949/1950 academic year, there were 1,600 students compared to 310,000 in 2014/2015.

Not all the data showed dramatic increases. Regarding voting, in January 1949, 86.9% of the population voted for the first Knesset compared to only 72.3% who voted for the 20th Knesset in March 2015.

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