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World Jewish Population, 2018

  • Sergio DellaPergolaEmail author
Chapter
Part of the American Jewish Year Book book series (AJYB, volume 118)

Abstract

At the beginning of 2018, the world’s Jewish population was estimated at 14,606,100—an increase of 98,400 (0.68%) over the 2017 revised estimate. As the world’s total population increased by 1.13% in 2017, world Jewry increased at about 60% of the general population growth rate. Jewish population was highly concentrated in two countries, Israel (45% of the world total) and the US (39% of the world total), 9% lived in Europe, 3% in other North America and Latin America, and 2% in other continents. A steady demographic increase in Israel was matched by stagnation or decline elsewhere, which was generated by low birth rates, frequent intermarriage, aging, and emigration. Most Jews are increasingly found in just a few more developed and democratic countries, with tens of communities now below a sufficient critical mass needed to sustain community institutions. This chapter carefully reviews different approaches to Jewish population definitions, the different sources available, and their highly variable quality and reliability. The critically important Jewish-Arab population balance in Israel and Palestine is analyzed. Vignettes on the largest Jewish populations— Israel, the United States, France, Canada, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Russia, Germany, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Ukraine, and Mexico —are also provided.

Keywords

World Jewry Jewish population Jewish demography Data sources and quality Age composition International migration Size and density 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Since inception, the American Jewish Year Book has documented the Jewish world and has given significant attention to Jewish population issues. Since 1981, responsibility for preparing annual population estimates for world Jewry was taken by the Division of Jewish Demography and Statistics of the A. Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The Division was founded by Roberto Bachi in 1959, was headed by Uziel O. Schmelz until 1986, by the present author until 2010, and by Uzi Rebhun since 2010. Jewish population estimates appeared in the AJYB, then under the aegis of the American Jewish Committee, until 2008. Since 2010, our world Jewish population estimates appeared in the framework of the North American Jewish Data Bank (now the Berman Jewish DataBank), and since 2012 within the renewed American Jewish Year Book. World Jewish population estimates as of January 1, 2009 and as of January 1, 2011 were prepared for publication but not issued. The interested reader may consult past AJYB volumes for further details on how the respective annual estimates were obtained (especially Schmelz 1981; DellaPergola 2015a).

The author expresses warm appreciation to the editors of AJYB during more than 30 years of a close collaboration: Morris Fine, Milton Himmelfarb, David Singer, Ruth Seldin and Lawrence Grossman, and currently Arnold Dashefsky and Ira M. Sheskin. The author also gratefully acknowledges the collaboration of many institutions and persons in various countries who supplied information or otherwise helped in the preparation of this study. Special thanks are due to my colleagues at The Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Uzi Rebhun and Mark Tolts. I am also indebted to those who over the years provided relevant information and advice at different stages of the present study (in the alphabetical order of the respective cities): Chris Kooyman (Amsterdam), the late Ralph Weill (Basel), Jim Schwartz (Bergen County, NJ), Olaf Glöckner (Berlin), Shmuel Frankel (Bne Berak), Marcos Peckel (Bogota), Simon Cohn and Claude Kandiyoti (Brussels), András Kovács (Budapest), Ezequiel Erdei and Yaacov Rubel (Buenos Aires), Tally Frankental (Cape Town), Salomon Benzaquen and Tony Beker de Weinraub (Caracas), Cathleen Falsani and Tom W. Smith (Chicago), Frank Mott (Columbus, OH), Heike von Bassewitz and Ellen Rubinstein (Frankfurt a. M.), Frans van Poppel and Hanna van Solinge (The Hague), Ariela Keysar and Barry Kosmin (Hartford, CT), Maritza Corrales Capestrany (Havana), Lina Filiba (Istanbul), Steven Adler, Benjamin Anderman, Margalit Bejarano, Maya Choshen, Susanne Cohen-Weisz, Oren Cytto, Nurit Dovrin, Judith Even, Netanel Fisher, the late Norma Gurovich, Shlomit Levy, Israel Pupko, Uzi Rebhun, Liat Rehavi, Dalia Sagi, Marina Sheps, Maya Shorer Kaplan, Mark Tolts, Eduardo Torres, Emma Trahtenberg and Chaim I. Waxman (Jerusalem), David Saks (Johannesburg), Roy van Keulen (Leiden), Jonathan Boyd, Marlena Schmool and Daniel Staetsky (London), Pini Herman and Bruce Phillips (Los Angeles), Pinhas Punturello (Madrid), John Goldlust, Andrew Markus and Ran Porat (Melbourne), Judit Bokser Liwerant, Susana Lerner, Mauricio Lulka and Yael Siman (Mexico City), Ira M. Sheskin (Miami), Rafael Porzecanski (Montevideo), Evgueni Andreev and Eugeni Soroko (Moscow), David Bass (Neveh Daniel), the late Vivian Z. Klaff (Newark, DE), Steven M. Cohen, Laurence Kotler-Berkowitz, Lucette Lagnado and Sarah Markowitz (New York), David M. Mizrachi (Panama City), Marcelo Dimentstein, Alberto Senderey, and the late Doris Bensimon-Donat (Paris), Allen Glicksman (Philadelphia), Zbyněk Tarant (Pilsen), Yochanan Moran (Porto), Sidney Goldstein and Alice Goldstein (Providence, RI), Narciso Attía (Quito), Mustafa Khawaja (Ramallah), Orly C. Meron, and the late Erik H. Cohen (Ramat Gan), Gloria Arbib and Alberto Levy (Rome), Lars Dencik (Roskilde), David Saltiel (Saloniki), Alberto Milkewitz, Simon Schwartzman, and the late René Decol (São Paulo), Mordechai Abergel (Singapore), Arnold Dashefsky (Storrs, CT), Gary Eckstein and David Graham (Sydney), Allie A. Dubb (Tel Aviv), Gustave Goldman (Toronto), Jeffrey Scheckner (Union, NJ), Thomas Buettner and Hania Zlotnik (United Nations, NY), R. Fastenbauer (Vienna), Sylvia Barack Fishman, Leonard Saxe, Charles Kadushin, Benjamin Phillips and Eizabeth Tighe (Waltham, MA), Barry R. Chiswick, Carmel U. Chiswick, Alan Cooperman, Conrad Hackett and Greg Smith (Washington, DC), Melita Svob (Zagreb).

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary JewryThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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