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Jewish Birth Rate in Israel at Record High

A Hebrew University professor says there were more Jewish births in the past year in Israel than ever, while the rate dropped in the Diaspora.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 9/7/2010, 2:42 PM / Last Update: 9/7/2010, 2:57 PM

Flash 90

A Hebrew University demography professor has announced there were more Jewish births in the past year in Israel than any other time in the history of the State. According to data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics on the eve of the Jewish New Year 5771, the State of Israel has now reached a population of 7.645 million.

Professor Sergio Della-Pergola,  who holds the Professor Shlomo Argov Chair in Israel-Diaspora Studies at the university, said that the a survey he conducted indicates the Jewish population has seen a moderate increase in fertility rates in the past year (2.9 children), with the largest number of births of Jews in the nation's history.

Della-Pergola attributed the increase to various factors, including the high birth rate in the hareidi religious community and the increase in the general public due to “life satisfaction.” In addition, said the professor, despite the global economic crisis, Israel has enjoyed a relatively positive economic status compared with other countries, which impacts on the fertility rate both in Israel and abroad.

Moreover, immigration to the state is another factor affecting the increase in the population, he said.

“While in Israel this year we recorded an increase of 1.7% in the Jewish population, in the Diaspora there was a corresponding decrease of 0.2% in the number of Jews,” said Della-Pergola.

After the State of Israel, the largest concentration of Jews is found in the United States, with a population of 5.3 million, according to the CBS data. However, the professor notes, this depends on how one defines who is a Jew.

The number of Diaspora Jews in other countries is considerably less: France: 485,000; Canada: 375,000; Russia: 205,000; Argentina: 182,000; Germany: 119,000; Australia: 108,000; and Brazil: 96,000.