By RUTH EGLASH
On the eve of a new decade, Israel's population stands at 7.5 million, according to figures released Wednesday by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).
Published ahead of the secular New Year 2010, Israel's population has continued to grow at a steady rate of 1.8 percent over the past seven years, with 160,000 new babies born since last January 1 and some 14,500 new immigrants arriving over the past year.
In terms of ethnic divisions, Israel's Jews now make up 75.4% of the population or 5,664,000 people; Arabs, 20.3% or 1,526,000 citizens and the remaining 4.3% (319,000) are those registered as "others" by the Interior Ministry.
According to the CBS's population report published ahead of the Jewish New Year in September, Israel is still a fairly young nation with nearly 30% of its population under the age of 14, compared to 17% in most other Western countries. Only 9.7% of the population is over the age of 65 in Israel, whereas in other Western countries this figure is closer to roughly 15%.
The report also showed that the average Jewish family size increased since 2008 from 2.8 children per household to 2.96. In the Muslim community, the average number of children per mother was 3.84, a drop from the previous two years where it had reached 3.97 children per household. Among Christian families the average number of children was down to 2.11 in 2008.
The ratio of men to women continues to be consistent, with the number of women in the country still slightly above the number of men, especially in the more advanced years of life. According to the statistics, there are 979 men for every 1000 women. In the under-37 age bracket there are more men than women, but the imbalance in the over-75 age group offsets this with some 673 men for every 1000 women.
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