The population has increased more than tenfold from 806,000 at the country’s establishment in 1948 to approximately 8.842 million today, according to data the Central Bureau of Statistics published this week ahead of the state’s 70th Independence Day.That number is expected to reach 15.2 million by the centennial celebrations in 2048.This year alone, the population grew by approximately 163,000 – or 1.9% – representing 177,000 births, 41,000 deaths and 28,000 immigrants.Since the establishment of the state, Israel has absorbed approximately 3.2 million immigrants.Jews constitute 74.5% of the population, Arab citizens represent 20.9% and other religious groups, including non-Arab Christians and other minorities, make up 4.6%.The average life expectancy for Israeli men is 80.7 years and 84.2 years for Israeli women, an increase of some four years for both sexes since 2000. Israeli men get married on average at 27.6 years of age and women at 25.2 years.Population growth has slowed across the decades.During the state’s first decade, the population grew by 8% annually, while the 1980s saw growth of less than 2% per year. The 1990s saw a rare increase to more than 3% annually due to mass immigration following the breakup of the Soviet Union.The last decade has seen Israel’s population grow annually by approximately 2%, a figure that is expected to gradually decrease in the coming years.By 2048, the population is predicted to grow by 1.7% per year and by 2065, by 1.6%.Today, approximately 44% of Israelis live in the 15 largest cities, each home to more than 100,000 persons. In 1948, only Tel Aviv housed more than 100,000 people – approximately 240,000 or 28% of the population.Jerusalem is now the country’s largest city, boasting a population of 882,700. Only 70 Israelis reside in Israel’s smallest community, Neveh Zohar on the shores of the Dead Sea.During the past 12 months, Israelis traveled abroad some 7.5 million times, more than double the 3.5 million trips made in 2000. In the opposite direction, Israel welcomed more than 3.8 million visitors through its various entry points during the year – an all-time record.