Reading a newspaper keeps older brains sharp
Reading a newspaper keeps older brains sharpIsrael news photo: Flash 90

What lies down the road for Israel? A study released by the Central Bureau of Statistics Tuesday indicates that there will be fewer Jews relative to the population, and a lot more elderly.

In 2035, the study says, Israel's Jewish population will reach 8.3 million, 73% of the country's projected 11.4 million residents. Currently, there are 5.8 million Jews in Israel, constituting 75% of the population. The Arab population will reach 2.6 million people, or 23% of the total population, compared to their current level of 1.6 million, 20.5% of the population. Birth rates for both Arabs and Jews will fall by then; the annual growth in the Arab population 22 years from now will be 1.8%, compared to the current 2.7%. For Jews, that percentage will fall from the current 1.8% to 1.4% annual growth.

However, there is still a “wild card” for major Jewish population growth. The Jewish growth rate is based on predictions of prospective births and natural increase among Jews, with 94% of he growth coming from increased births, and only 6% coming from immigration. However, if a major wave of immigration is set off leading to a major migration of Jews to Israel, the statistics presented Tuesday will be moot.

There were also be more elderly in Israel, the study said. Currently, Jewish men live an average of 79.7 years, and women 83.3 years, the longest for a female population anywhere. In 2035, those numbers will climb to 84.8 years for men, and 89.5 for women. In addition, there will be sharp growth – 220% - in the number of Israelis over 90, the study said.