Israeli population 10 times larger than at state’s founding

(JTA) – The population of Israel has grown more than tenfold since the state’s establishment in 1948.

In statistics released to coincide with Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, which begins Wednesday night, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported that Israel has 8.52 million residents, compared to 806,000 in 1948.

In the past year alone, Israel’s population has grown by 182,000, or 2.2 per cent, thanks to a birthrate that exceeded the death rate, as well as the arrival of 36,000 immigrants.

Jews now make up 74.8 per cent of the population and Arabs 20.8 per cent. The remaining 4.4 percent are non-Arab Christians and people with no reported religion, mostly from the former Soviet Union.

According to the report, Israel is now home to 43 per cent of the world’s Jews, compared to just six per cent in 1948.

While the report includes Jewish settlers in the West Bank, who are Israeli citizens, it does not appear to count Palestinians living there. It is not clear whether the report counts Palestinians in eastern Jerusalem, who have been eligible for Israeli citizenship since Israel annexed the city in 1967. Also not clear is whether the 1948 statistic encompasses the entire area that had fallen under the British Mandate or just the area then under Israeli control. The “Green Line” borders of Israel were not finalized until 1949, after its War of Independence.

The population is estimated to reach 11.3 million by 2035.

Among the other findings:

* Three quarters of the population was born in Israel, compared to 35 per cent in 1948.

* Ownership of household appliances has grown dramatically since the 1950s. As of 2014, 96 per cent of Israelis had a washing machine (compared to 12 per cent in 1956), 99.9 per cent (compared to 37 per cent in 1956) owned a refrigerator and 87 per cent (compared to 10 per cent in 1957) had air conditioning. While only 13 per cent of Israelis had a telephone in 1963, today 96 per cent have at least one cellphone.

* Voting participation rates have declined since 1949, when 86.9 per cent of the population voted, compared to 72.4 per cent who voted in the most recent elections.


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