Israeli flags at the Western Wall in Jerusalem
Israeli flags at the Western Wall in JerusalemFlash 90

Israel’s population neared nine million on the eve of the new year, the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics reported Monday.

A total of approximately 8,972,000 people lived in Israel as of December 31st, according to the CBS’ estimates.

Of those nearly 9 million people, roughly 74.3%, or 6,668,000, are Jews. Approximately 1.88 million, or 20.9% of the population, are Arabs, while 426,000 (4.8% of the total) are neither Jewish nor Arab, and are classified as “Others”. A large portion of this third category are non-Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who moved to Israel under the Right of Return after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

According to the CBS report Monday, Israel’s population grew by two percent during 2018. Of the total population growth in 2018, 81% was the result of natural growth (the number of live births minus the number of deaths), while 19% was the result of net positive migration to Israel.

A total of 28,000 new immigrants moved to Israel during 2018, while 185,000 children were born. In addition, 12,000 returning citizens moved back to Israel in 2018.

Of the 185,000 live births in 2018, 74.4% were to Jewish mothers, compared to 22.8% to Arab mothers. Only 2.8% of live births were to mothers in the “Others” category.

By comparison, 7,000 Israelis emigrated from Israel in 2018, and there were a total of 45,000 deaths recorded.

Most immigrants to Israel in 2018 were not Jewish, with net Jewish migration (the total number of Jewish immigrants to Israel minus to number of Jewish emigrants leaving) at 12,600. The level of net Arab migration – primarily returning citizens – was 2,300, while the net balance of migration for Others was 17,700.

In 2018, immigration made up 84% of the total increase in number of non-Jewish, non-Arab (Others) citizens in Israel.