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World Jewish Population Grows, Slowly

One in every 514 people in the world is Jewish.

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1997 Global Jewish Population (Virtual Library)

One of the bigger stories in the United States over the weekend was the newest American jobs report, which noted the adding of 96,000 new jobs in the month of August. From across the political spectrum, there were naturally all kinds of reactions, ranging from charges of a sluggish economic recovery on the right to the narrative of 30 straight months of job growth on the left. Some cited the overall lowering of the unemployment rate from 8.3% to 8.1%.

Another piece of data released over the weekend is evoking similar response, albeit on a much, much smaller scale: the news that the global Jewish population has grown by 88,000 (in a year, not a month). The dominating headline is that there was growth, but it was also at a sluggish rate. In fact, the Jewish growth rate is .65%, which is about half the growth rate of the world population.

The report’s findings revealed that while the world’s population grew by 1.26 percent and crossed the seven billion mark, the growth rate of the Jewish people was significantly smaller at 0.65%. In all, one out of 514 people in the world is Jewish — less than 0.2% of mankind, according to excerpts of the study published in Maariv Sunday.

The Jewish Press was quick to point out that the Jewish population outside of Israel had actually gotten smaller. It was the first time that the population in the Diaspora had shrunk–at a loss of 10,000. The report cited aliyah and intermarriage as the main contributing factors in the decline.

The numbers now break down thusly:
13.75 million Jews
43% or 5.97 million in Israel (the world’s biggest Jewish population since 2005)
39% or 5.46 million in the United States
1.43 million in Europe

And for some perspective, the ratio of Jewish basketball players in the NBA is considerably greater than the ratio of Jews in the world. But, on the other hand, there are more Jews in the world than Jews in Aerosmith.

Commenters, I’d love your thoughts on what the data means.

Global Jewish population grows by 88,000 [Times of Israel]
Study: Jewish population outside of Israel shrinking [Jewish Press]
Job Numbers May Undermine Obama Convention Bump [NYT]

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Paul Brandon says:

I’d say that a change that small is probably within the range of random variation in the data; have they done a statistical analysis?
I’d be more impressed by three or more data points in the same direction.
And as usual, this is a prepublication PR release — we may have to wait until the study is actually peer reviewed and published to see what kinds of qualifications the original authors put on their conclusions.

What the article did NOT include, is a statistic that I read elsewhere: A sizable majority of the world’s Jewish CHILDREN live in Israel.

As demographic data from the NY community also indicates, liberal, non-Orthodox Jews in the Diaspora, are driving themselves into irrelevance, by avoiding having children. Ironically, the positive change in Israeli fertility, is largely due to secular Russians, who now typically choose to have 2 or 3 children.

In my 35 years in Israel, I have never met an emotionally and physically healthy married couple, who chose NOT to have kids. (and I hang around with lots of bohemian arty types.) TV says that they exist. I just ain’t never met one.

holdmewhileimnaked says:

aerosmith, maybe, but take it from someone who knows, not in the rest of metal.

What this data means is that we had better watch out. Why do you think censuses were not allowed among the Jews? Because every time in history the Jews overpopulated it led to pogroms which resulted in less Jews. And yet we still moan and groan that G_d has not intervened to save us. This is because G_d didn’t make us to be a populous people to compete for numbers against the nations of the world. We were made to be a small group with a specific purpose. As long as we deny that fact the pogroms will continue.

jacob_arnon says:

The data means that Jews outside of Israel are abolishing themselves.

G-d didn’t want us to be a populous people? What about this:
Breishit 15:5

ה וַיּוֹצֵא אֹתוֹ הַחוּצָה, וַיֹּאמֶר
הַבֶּט-נָא הַשָּׁמַיְמָה וּסְפֹר הַכּוֹכָבִים–אִם-תּוּכַל, לִסְפֹּר אֹתָם;
וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ, כֹּה יִהְיֶה זַרְעֶךָ. 5 And He (G-d) brought him (Abraham) forth outside, and said: ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars, if you are able to count them’; and He said to him: ‘So shall your offspring be.’

ה וַיּוֹצֵא אֹתוֹ הַחוּצָה, וַיֹּאמֶר
הַבֶּט-נָא הַשָּׁמַיְמָה וּסְפֹר הַכּוֹכָבִים–אִם-תּוּכַל, לִסְפֹּר אֹתָם;
וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ,
כֹּה יִהְיֶה זַרְעֶךָ.
5 And He (G-d) brought him (Abraham) forth outside, and said: ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars, if you are able to count them’; and He said to him: ‘So shall your offspring be.’

Soon you´ll count on me ! :)

That may be true for Israelites, but we are Jews. In Deuteronomy 7:7 (VaEtchanan) we are told:
לא מרבכם מכל העמים חשק יהוה בכם ויבחר בכם כי אתם המעט מכל העמים
And so we are to be a nation small in number but large in blessing, a people of teachers and priests. Large in quality but small in quantity. One could even argue that our Jewish identity is predicated on being persecuted and not assimilated.

That may be true for Israelites, but we are Jews. In Deuteronomy 7:7 (VaEtchanan) we are told:
לא מרבכם מכל העמים חשק יהוה בכם ויבחר בכם כי אתם המעט מכל העמים
And so we are to be a nation small in number but large in blessing, a people of teachers and priests. Large in quality but small in quantity. One could even argue that our Jewish identity is predicated on being persecuted and not assimilated.

morris says:

Can you write an article on how many jews in America voted Democratic in the 2012 presidential election? I have heard that an overwhelming % voted democratic. Since it appears that the Republicans are for strong U.S.-Israel ties, it seems odd that American Jews voted democratically. I would be interested in the reasons for this, in your research. Some say American Jews are more liberal and don’t recongnize the nation of Israel. Plse write something on this to educate the masses, both Jewish and other.
Thx. W. Morris, Louisiana.

nnnnmnn says:

Herman Neiman there is no accurate Jewish population count in the world. The latest random sampling telephone survey count in the USA was quite extensive and ended up with an estimated number of 6,650,000 . with an accuracy of 2 percent either way. that took place in 2011. Even that could be understated because many people prefered not to give their religious preference yet they had common Jewish names.

Padraig says:

At this rate in 70 years only one of every 1000 people in the world will be Jewish.

Thomas R. Peasley says:

There is a little box below, in the bottom right corner, that announces: More on Tablet:! Do you really want the word “Moron” associated with “Tablet”?

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World Jewish Population Grows, Slowly

One in every 514 people in the world is Jewish.

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