Israel’s population is 8.68 million on eve of 69th birthday

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s population stands at 8.68 million on the eve of Israel Independence Day.

The figures released by the Central Bureau of Statistics on Thursday ahead of the nation’s 69th birthday on Monday show that the country’s population is growing by nearly two per cent a year and that there are 10 times as many Israelis today as there were when the state was founded in 1948.

Some 6.48 million residents of Israel are Jewish and account for 74.4 per cent of the population, and 1.8 million Arabs make up 20.8 per cent, according to the bureau. Non-Arab Christians and other ethnic groups make up the remaining 388,000 people, or 4.4 per cent, of Israel’s population.

In the last year, there were 174,000 births and 44,000 deaths. The population also increased some 30,000 by new immigrants from around the world.

Seventy-five per cent of the current population was born in Israel, compared to 35 per cent who were born in the area in 1948.

Some 54.3 per cent of Israelis are between the ages of 19 and 64. Those aged 65 and over make up 11.1 per cent of the population and 18 and under make up 34.6 per cent. Some 45,000 people are 90 and older.

Forty-four per cent of Jewish Israelis consider themselves secular, with 24 per cent identifying as traditional but “not so religious.” Eleven per cent say they are religious/Orthodox and nine per cent say they are haredi Orthodox. Of the country’s non-Jews, 52 per cent call themselves religious, 21 per cent secular, 23 per cent “not so religious” and four per cent very religious.

Under the heading of “how is it to live in Israel,” 89 per cent of Israelis age 20 and up say they are “satisfied with their lives”; 59 per cent say they are “satisfied with their economic situation”; 52 per cent “estimate that their lives will be better in the future,” and 44 per cent “believe their economic situation will improve.”

Jerusalem is identified as the largest city with 865,700 residents. Israel’s smallest town is Neve Zohar, located at the southern tip of the Dead Sea, with 71 residents.

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