Jewish population by country
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The world's core Jewish population in early 2013 was estimated at 13.9 million people (around 0.2% of the world population). While dozens of countries host at least a small Jewish population, the community is concentrated in a handful: Israel and the United States account for 82% of the Jewish population, while a total of 18 countries host 98%.
With just over 6 million Jews, Israel is the only Jewish majority and explicitly Jewish state. Jewish population figures for the United States are contested, ranging between 5.4 and 6.8 million. (The core global total of Jews jumps above 15 million if the highest American estimates are assumed). Other countries with a significant Jewish population are, like Israel and the US, typically well-developed OECD members with Jews concentrated in major urban centers.
In 1939, the core Jewish population reached its historical peak of 17 million (0.8% of the global population). Because of the Holocaust, the number was reduced to 11 million in 1945. The population grew again to around 13 million by the 1970s, but has since recorded near-zero growth until around 2005 due to low fertility rates and to assimilation. Since 2005, the world's Jewish population has been growing modestly at a rate of around 0.78% (in 2013). This increase primarily reflects the rapid growth of Haredi and some Orthodox sectors, who are becoming a growing proportion of Jews.
The "enlarged" or expanded Jewish population, which includes those with a Jewish father or spouse as well as children living in a household with a Jewish step-parent, stands at approximately 18.2 million. The total number of people who hold or are eligible for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return — defined as anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent, and who does not actively profess any other religion — is estimated at around 21.7 million, of which 6.3 million are currently living in Israel.
No reliable figures exist for the number of crypto-Jews.
Recent Jewish population dynamics are characterized by continued steady increase in the Israeli Jewish population and flat or declining numbers in countries of the diaspora. The Jewish population of Israel has increased more than tenfold since the country's inception in 1948 to 6,135,000 today while the population of the diaspora has dropped from 10.5 to 7.8 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 this group is 1.7% annually. 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 (referred to as aliyah in the country). 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. Globally, only the United States, Canada, Australia, and Germany have shown a positive recent Jewish migration balance outside of Israel. In general, the anglosphere has seen its share of the diaspora increase since the Holocaust and the foundation of Israel, while historic Jewish populations in Eastern Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East have significantly declined or disappeared. France continues to be home to the world's third largest Jewish community, with just under half a million, but has shown an increasingly negative trend, including the largest emigration loss to Israel in 2014.
Debate over American numbers
The exact number of Jews in the United States has been the subject of much debate given questions over counting methodology. 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 this, however, with a concern over double counting and suggested the real figure may lie between 6 and 6.4 million. Drawing on the work, the Steinhardt Social Research Institute released their own estimate of 6.8 million Jews in the United States in 2013. All of these figures stand in contrast to Israeli demographer Sergio DellaPergola's number of 5,425,000 also in 2012. He has called high estimates “implausible” and “unreliable.” This latest furor follows a similar debate in 2001 when the National Jewish Population Survey released a Jewish American estimate as low as 5.2 million only to have serious methodological errors suggested in their survey. In sum, a confidence interval of a million or more people is likely to persist in reporting on the number of Jewish Americans.
Countries and Territories
Below is a list of Jewish populations in the world by country or territory. Unless otherwise indicated, numbers for the core population are given by DellaPergola's chapter "World Jewish Population" of the American Jewish Year Book of 2012, as reproduced in the Jewish Virtual Library. The library is a comprehensive non-governmental website covering topics about U.S.-Israel relations and the Jewish people. Numbers in the relevant sources are primarily based on national censuses. Regarding definitions, DellaPergola has described the "core Jewish population" in the diaspora as "all persons who, when asked in a socio-demographic survey, identify themselves as Jews; or who are identified as Jews by a respondent in the same household, and do not have another monotheistic religion."
In this table "enlarged Jewish populations" are provided for European countries by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research. They define this category as "core Jews" plus those of Jewish parentage who may have adopted another religion or opted out of Judaism along with household members such as spouses and children who are not otherwise included.
|Country or Territory||Core Jewish Population||Proportion of country population||Enlarged Jewish Population||Proportion of country population|
|United States||5,400,000 - 6,800,000||2.11%||8,300,000||2.644%|
|Republic of Moldova||3,800||0.093%||7,500||0.184%|
|British Virgin Islands||500||0.455%||-||-|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||500||0.013%||1,000||0.026%|
|Republic of Macedonia||100||0.005%||-||-|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||100||0%||-||-|
- Jewish ethnic divisions
- Jewish population by urban areas
- Judaism by country
- Historical Jewish population comparisons
- Wisse, Ruth (2007). Jews and Power. Schocken Books. p. 188. ISBN 978-0805242249.
- DellaPergola, Sergio (2013). Dashefsky, Arnold; Sheskin, Ira, eds. "World Jewish Population, 2013". Current Jewish Population Reports (The American Jewish Year Book (Dordrecht: Springer)) 113: pp 279–358. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
- "US Jewish Population is Anywhere Between 5.425 Million and 6.722 Million". Jewish Political News and Updates. February 18, 2013. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
- Yaakov Levi. "Israel Population Now 8.2 Million - 75% Are Jewish". Israel National News. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
- "Fertility Rates, by Age and Religion". Statistical Abstract of Israel. Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. 11 September 2012. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
- "Data: Arab Growth Slows, Still Higher than Jewish Rate". Israel National News. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
- Post-Soviet Aliyah and Jewish Demographic Transformation - Mark Tolts.
- "Immigration to Israel by Year". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
- "Demography". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
- "France tops list for Jewish emigration to Israel". RFI. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
- Sheshkin, Ira; Dashefsky, Arnold (November 2, 2012). Dashefsky, Arnold; Sheskin, Ira, eds. "Jewish Population in the United States, 2012" (PDF). Current Jewish Population Reports. Storrs, Connecticut: North American Jewish Data Bank. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
- Tighe, Elizabeth, et al. (September 2013). "American Jewish Population Estimates: 2012" (PDF). Brandeis University: Steinhardt Social Research Institute. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
- 2012. Retrieved on 2014-01-30
- "Jewish populations in Europe". Institute for Jewish Policy Research. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
- 2010 Brazilian census Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics. Retrieved on 2014-01-30
- Australian Jewish News - Census shows Jews are on the move
- The Age, Census reveals city's changes, 2012
- DellaPergola, Sergio (November 2, 2012). Dashefsky, Arnold; Sheskin, Ira, eds. "World Jewish Population, 2012" (PDF). Current Jewish Population Reports. Storrs, Connecticut: North American Jewish Data Bank. Retrieved September 21, 2013.
- The Jewish Community of Ukraine European Jewish Congress
- "Jewish woman brutally murdered in Iran over property dispute". The Times of Israel. November 28, 2012. Retrieved Aug 16, 2014.
A government census published earlier this year indicated there were a mere 8,756 Jews left in Iran
- Israelbooks.com The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute Annual Assessment 2004-2005: Between Thriving and Decline. Gefen Publishing House.
- Publications on Jewish population at the Berman Jewish Policy Archive @ NYU Wagner
- Jewish Population and Migration, by YIVO Encyclopedia