A baby sits in front of an Israeli flag.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
As the country prepares to celebrate its 69th birthday, the Central Bureau of Statistics announced Thursday that the Jewish state today has 8.680 million citizens, 10 times more Jews than at its founding.
According to the report, the Jewish population represents 6.484 million residents – 74.7% of the total population – and the Arab population stands at 1.808 million people, 20.8% of the country’s inhabitants.
The remaining 4.5%, approximately 388,000 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 the founding of the state in 1948, there were 11.5 million Jews in the world, of whom 6% were living in Israel. In contrast, in 2015 there were 14.411 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 Israel.
The data also revealed that the Jewish state’s population is expected to hit over 15 million by 2048 – Israel’s 100th birthday.
Since last year, the country’s population grew by some 159,000 people, marking a 1.9% increase, the report found.
In addition, the figures showed that 174,000 babies were born this past year, while 44,000 deaths were recorded.
With regard to aliya, some 30,000 immigrants arrived 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.
Among the Jews living in Israel, some 44% identified as secular, 24% identified as traditional but not religious and 11% identified as religious, while 9% identified as ultra-Orthodox.
In contrast, among the non-Jewish population, 52% identified as religious, 23% as “not so religious,” 21% as secular and 4% as very religious.
This year’s report also 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 2016, the GDP stood at NIS 1.2 billion – 46 times greater than in 1950, when Israel’s GDP stood at NIS 25.6b.
Furthermore, the data showed that in 1955, Israel faced a 7.2% unemployment rate compared to 4.8% in 2016.