a huge crowd fills the streets, seen from far above
Thousands of Israelis protesting the cost of housing in Tel Aviv in 2011 (Photo/Wikimedia-meowArt.com CC BY-SA 2.0)

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

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 2 percent 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 percent of the population, and 1.8 million Arabs make up 20.8 percent, according to the bureau. Non-Arab Christians and other ethnic groups make up the remaining 388,000 people, or 4.4 percent, 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 percent of the current population was born in Israel, compared to 35 percent who were born in the area in 1948.

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

Forty-four percent of Jewish Israelis consider themselves secular, with 24 percent identifying as traditional but “not so religious.” Eleven percent say they are religious/Orthodox and 9 percent say they are Haredi Orthodox. Of the country’s non-Jews, 52 percent call themselves religious, 21 percent secular, 23 percent “not so religious” and 4 percent very religious.

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

JTA

JTA news agency