Global Jewish Population at 15.3M; Over 7M in Israel on Eve of Rosh HaShana - The Jewish Voice
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Global Jewish Population at 15.3M; Over 7M in Israel on Eve of Rosh HaShana

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Edited by: TJVNews.com

The Jewish Agency for Israel has once again released their statistics for the global Jewish population on the eve of Rosh HaShana. As Jews throughout the length and breadth of the world begin to usher in the High Holiday season, it has been reported that the number of Jews worldwide stands at approximately 15.3 million as compared to 15.2 million in the previous year, according to newly released statistics from The Jewish Agency for Israel.

Presently, there are 7.080,000 Jews living in Israel compared to  6,950,00 in the previous year, as was reported by Israel National news who cited the Jewish Agency for Israel report. INN reported that approximately 8.25 million live outside Israel (including approximately 6 million in the United States). INN also reported that the updated estimates by Professor Sergio Della Pergola of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will be published in the American Jewish Year Book 2022.

The updated estimates by Professor Sergio Della Pergola of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will be published in the American Jewish Year Book 2022. Photo Credit: Researchgate.com

The facts on the numbers assessed by the Jewish Agency include those who define themselves as Jews and who do not identify with another religion, according to the INN report.  When also including those who are eligible for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return, the global total rises to 25.5 million people, of which 7.5 million are in Israel and 18 million live outside Israel., the report indicated There are 500,000 Israelis entitled to citizenship under the Law of Return who are not registered as Jews at Israel’s Population Authority.

The Pew Research Center conducted the most recent population survey and in accordance with in-depth analysis of the survey, the indication is that the number of American Jews has remained stable. INN also reported that the proportion of Jews living in Israel out of all the Jews in the world stands at 46.2%, an increase of one percent over the previous year.

Throughout the decades, a variety of demographic experts as well as population researchers have offered speculation that carried it with it a dim future for the Jewish people. Many have prognosticated that the Jewish population across the globe would dwindle dramatically due to rampant assimilation, skyrocketing intermarriage rates and youth alienation.

In his 1998 book entitled, “The Vanishing American Jew” by Harvard law school Professor Alan Dershowitz,  he writes, “American Jews–as a people–have never been in greater danger of disappearing through assimilation, intermarriage, and low birthrates. The even worse news is that our very success as individuals contributes to our vulnerability as a people. “

In his 1998 book entitled, “The Vanishing American Jew” by Harvard law school Professor Alan Dershowitz, he writes, “American Jews–as a people–have never been in greater danger of disappearing through assimilation, intermarriage, and low birthrates. The even worse news is that our very success as individuals contributes to our vulnerability as a people. “ Photo Credit: Amazon.com

He adds that, “American Jewish life is in danger of disappearing, just as most American Jews have achieved everything we ever wanted: acceptance, influence, affluence, equality. As the result of skyrocketing rates of intermarriage and assimilation, as well as “the lowest birth rate of any religious or ethnic community in the United States,” the era of enormous Jewish influence on American life may soon be coming to an end. Although Jews make up just over 2 percent of the population of the United States–approximately 5.5 million out of 262 million–many Americans mistakenly believe that we constitute a full 20 percent of the American people, because of our disproportionate visibility, influence, and accomplishments. But our numbers may soon be reduced to the point where our impact on American life will necessarily become marginalized.”

“ One Harvard study predicts that if current demographic trends continue, the American Jewish community is likely to number less than 1 million and conceivably as few as 10,000 by the time the United States celebrates its tri-centennial in 2076. Other projections suggest that early in the next century, American Jewish life as we know it will be a shadow of its current, vibrant self–consisting primarily of isolated pockets of ultra-Orthodox Hasidim.”

INN reported that the Hebrew calendar year 5782 also saw the largest number of olim (immigrants) in 20 years, with The Jewish Agency, in cooperation with the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, assisting 60,000 immigrants from 93 countries in making Aliyah (immigration to Israel).

According to Jewish Agency data for the period between September 1, 2021, and September 1, 2022, 26,000 olim arrived from Russia; 14,000 olim from Ukraine — most arriving on Jewish Agency rescue operations during the war; 3,800 from the U.S. and Canada, with assistance from Nefesh B’Nefesh; 2,500 from France; 1,600 from Belarus; 1,450 olim from Ethiopia were reunited with their relatives in Israel as part of Operation Tzur Israel; 1,100 from Argentina; 600 from the United Kingdom; 500 from South Africa and 400 from Brazil, as was reported by INN.

According to Jewish Agency data for the period between September 1, 2021, and September 1, 2022, 26,000 olim arrived from Russia; 14,000 olim from Ukraine — most arriving on Jewish Agency rescue operations during the war. Photo: Courtesy

Jewish Agency data also shows that over a quarter of the past year’s olim were young people between ages 18-35, INN reports. About 5,500 of these young olim, including hundreds of professionals from fields where there is a labor shortage in Israel, participated in special Jewish Agency programs that help them integrate into the job market and institutions of higher education. Another 2,200 young olim serving in the IDF while their families remain abroad (lone soldiers) received support from the Wings program, INN reported.

A report in Israel Hayom indicated that a breakdown of the population in Israel according to ethnicities shows that 7,069,000, or roughly 74%, are Jews, some 2 million (roughly 21%) are Arabs and about half a million residents (some 5%) have a different ethnic background.

Some 177,000 new Israelis were born in the Jewish year 5782 (which ends on Sunday night), while 53,000 people passed away, including 4,400 from complications of the coronavirus, Israel Hayom reported.

The war in Ukraine has impacted Israel’s overall immigration figures significantly, according to the Israel Hayom report. Net immigration for the past 12 months stands at 63,000, including 59,000 who qualify as olim, with about 40,000 of those making aliya from Ukraine, the report added.

The following are updated and estimated Jewish population figures from additional countries as of January 2022, reflecting the core Jewish community and not those eligible for Aliyah under the Law of Return, as was reported by INN.

France: 442,000

Canada: 394,000

United Kingdom: 292,000

Argentina: 173,000

Russia: 145,000

Australia: 118,200

Germany: 118,000

Brazil: 91,000

South Africa: 51,000

Hungary: 46,500

Ukraine: 40,000

Mexico: 40,000

The Netherlands: 29,700

Belgium: 28,000

Italy: 27,000

Switzerland: 18,800

Uruguay: 16,300

Chile: 15,800

Sweden: 14,900

Turkey: 14,300

Spain: 12,900

Austria: 10,300

Panama: 10,000

If those eligible for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return are included, the global total rises to 25.5 million people, of which some 7.5 million are in Israel and 18 million outside of it, according to the Jewish Agency.

The Times of Israel  report indicated that grom the US and Canada, 1,800 Jews moved to Israel over the past year, while 2,500 made aliyah from France and 1,100 from Argentina.

There were also 1,450 new immigrants from Ethiopia who were reunited with their families in Israel. Several thousand more are still waiting to immigrate and estimated to be in Ethiopia, according to the Jewish Agency.

Wikipedia reported that ass of 2020, the world’s “core” Jewish population (those identifying as Jews above all else) was estimated at 14.8 million, 0.2% of the 7.95 billion worldwide population. This number rises to 18 million with the addition of the “connected” Jewish population, including those who say they are partly Jewish or that have Jewish backgrounds from at least one Jewish parent, and rises again to 21 million with the addition of the “enlarged” Jewish population, including those who say they have Jewish backgrounds but no Jewish parents and all non-Jewish household members who live with Jews.

Counting all those who are eligible for Israeli citizenship under Israel’s Law of Return, in addition to Israeli Jews, raised the total to 23.8 million, according to the Wikipedia report.

Two countries account for 81% of those recognized as Jews or of sufficient Jewish ancestry to be eligible for citizenship in Israel under its Law of Return: the United States with 51% and Israel with 30% (including Judea and Samaria with 2%, Wikipedia.com reported. An additional 16% is split between France (3%), Canada (3%), Russia (3%), the United Kingdom (2%), Argentina (1%), Germany (1%), Ukraine (1%), Brazil (1%), Australia (1%), and Hungary (1%), while the remaining 3% are spread around approximately 98 other countries and territories with less than 0.5% each. With a little over 7 million Jews, Israel is the only Jewish-majority country and the only explicitly Jewish state, as was reported by Wikipedia.

At the outset of World War II, the core Jewish population reached its historical peak of 17 million. Due to the Holocaust, this number was reduced to 11 million by 1945. Wikipedia also reported that the population grew to around 13 million by the 1970s and then recorded almost no growth until around 2005, due to low fertility rates and assimilation of Jews. From 2005 to 2018, the world’s Jewish population grew 0.63% annually on average, while world population grew 1.1% annually in the same period. Wikipedia reported that this increase primarily reflected the rapid growth of Haredi and some Orthodox sectors, who remain a growing proportion of Jews due to their high birthrates.

Recent Jewish population dynamics are characterized by continued steady increase in the Israeli Jewish population and flat or declining numbers in other countries (the diaspora). The Jewish population of Israel increased from 630,000 at the country’s inception in 1948 to 6,135,000 in 2014, Wikipedia reported,  while the population of the diaspora has dropped from 10.5 to 8.1 million over the same period.

Current Israeli Jewish demographics are characterized by a relatively high fertility rate of 3 children per woman and a stable age distribution. The overall growth rate of Jews in Israel is 1.7% annually, according to the Wikipedia report. The diaspora countries, by contrast, have low Jewish birth rates, an increasingly elderly age composition, and a negative balance of people leaving Judaism versus those joining. Immigration trends also favor Israel ahead of diaspora countries. The Jewish state has a positive immigration balance (called aliyah in Hebrew).

Wikipedia reported that Israel saw its Jewish numbers significantly buoyed by a million-strong wave of Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union in the 1990s, and immigration growth has been steady (in the low tens of thousands) since then. In the rest of the world, only the United States, Canada, Australia, and Germany have had a positive recent Jewish migration balance outside of Israel. In general, the modern English-speaking world has seen an increase in its share of the diaspora since the Holocaust and the foundation of Israel, while historic diaspora Jewish populations in Eastern Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East have significantly declined or disappeared, Wikipedia reports.

France continues to be home to the world’s third largest Jewish community, at a little under 500,000 but has shown an increasingly negative trend. As a long term tend, intermarriage has reduced its “core” Jewish population and increased its “connected” and “enlarged” Jewish populations, according to the Wikipedia report.

More recently, migration loss to Israel amongst French Jews reached the tens of thousands between 2014 and 2017, following a wave of anti-Semitic attacks.  Wikipedia reported that according to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey, between 2010 and 2015 “an estimated one million babies were born to Jewish mothers and roughly 600,000 Jewish died, meaning that the natural increase in the Jewish population – i.e., the number of births minus the number of deaths – was 500,000 over this period”. According to the same study, over the next four decades the number of Jews around the world is expected to increase from 14.2 million in 2015 to 20.3 million in 2060.

The number of Jews in the United States has been the subject of much debate because of questions over counting methodology. Wikipedia reported that in 2012, Sheskin and Dashefsky put forward a figure of 6.72 million based on a mixture of local surveys, informed local estimates, and US census data. They qualified their estimate with a concern over double counting and suggested the real figure may lie between 6 and 6.4 million. Drawing on their work, the Steinhardt Social Research Institute released their own estimate of 6.8 million Jews in the United States in 2013, according to the Wikipedia report. These figures are in contrast to Israeli demographer Sergio Della Pergola’s number of 5,425,000, also in 2012.

Sources: IsraelNationalNews.com, The Jewish Agency for Israel, IsraelHayom.com, Wikipedia.org

(Additional reporting by: Fern Sidman)

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