Population on eve of 2006 stands at 6,986,300

The population is expected to reach the seven million mark in the coming months. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics the population of the State of Israel on the eve of 2006 stands at 6,986,300 people. Seventy-six percent of the population is Jewish, 20% are Arab, and 4% are non-Arab Christians and residents with no official religious status according to the Ministry of Interior. The population growth rate for 2005 stood at 1.7%, which equals 116,800 people, the lowest it has been since 1990. The growth rate in 2004 was 1.8%. During 2005, 143,700 infants were born, while 20,500 new olim arrived, a number similar to that of 2004. Eighteen percent of the olim were from Russia, 17% from Ethiopia, 12% from France, 10% from Ukraine, and 8% from the US.