Christians make up 2% of population on Christmas 2010

Figures show 80.4% of country's Christians are Arabs, Nazareth has largest Christian community; average family size is two children.

Christians Good Friday Jerusalem 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Christians Good Friday Jerusalem 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Christians constitute roughly 2 percent of the country’s citizens, or 153,000 people out of the 7.5 million population, according to figures released this week by the Central Bureau of Statistics ahead of Christmas Day on Saturday.
According to the figures, 80.4% of the Christians in Israel are Arabs and the rest are immigrants who arrived under the Law of Return, since they had Jewish relatives. The majority of those in the second category of Christians arrived during the large waves of aliya from the former Soviet Union.
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Nazareth has the largest Christian community with some 22,000 people; Haifa follows with 14,000, Jerusalem with 11,000 and Shfaram has 9,200 Christian residents.
Most Arab Christians in Israel belong to branches of the Eastern Orthodox Churches.
The CBS statistics also show the makeup of Christian families in Israel. The average family has two children, slightly fewer than the 2.2 for Jewish families and the 3 for Muslim citizens.
Christians Israelis are 29.1 years old on average when they marry, 2 years older than in the Druse community and 3 years older than for Muslims. In 2008, 806 Christian Israeli couples married in Israel, most of them Arabs.
Of the 2,514 babies born to Christian woman in 2009, 80% were Arabs and the rest were from a wide range of communities living in Israel. Out of those not from the Arab community, 7% were born to Israeli-born Christian woman; 39% to women born in the former Soviet Union; 14% to Ethiopian Christian woman; 10% to Romanian woman; and 7% in the Filipino community.
Some 57.8% of the Christian population is employed – 66.2% of the men and 49.7% of the women. Out of the men who are employed, 22% work in industry and 17% in construction; of the women, 21% work in education and 20% in the health or welfare services.
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