How Many Jews are there Worldwide?

(Sunday, September 9th, 2012)

According to the latest information released by Hebrew University demographics expert Professor Sergio Della Pergola, there are 13.75 million Jews in the world today, an increase of 88,300 from last Rosh Hashanah. The increase is negligible when one realizes the world’s population increased by 1.26% last year, placing the growth of Jews somewhere around 0.65%. One out of every 514 people in the world is Jewish, which amounts to less than 0.2% of mankind.

The entire report will be published after Rosh Hashanah by the American Jewish Yearbook, which reports the world’s Jewish population after WWII being 11 million (with 500,000 in Eretz Yisrael).

39% of Jews worldwide live in the United States (5.46 million), and 1.43 million reside in Europe.

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, there are 5.97 million Jews in Israel (43%), 2.099 million in New York (15.3%), 688,600 in Los Angeles (5%), 345,700 in San Francisco (2.5%), 332,900 in Washington (2.4%), 295,700 in Boston (2.2%), 295,700 in Chicago (2.1%), 284,000 in Paris (2.1%), 280,000 in Philadelphia (2%), 195,000 in London (1.4%) and 180,000 in Toronto (1.3%).

The Diaspora population shrank by 10,000 during the past year. One of the main reasons is aliyah to Eretz Yisrael. For example, there are only 276,000 Jews remaining in Russia, once home to 3 million. Another factor is assimilation. Intermarriage among Jews in the United States exceeds 50%. In Russia, 70% of the women and 80% of the men are intermarried.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

9 Comments

  1. akuperma says:

    If you use Hitler’s definition (any Jewish grandparent), there are probably about 20 million Jews in the United States alone. If you use the definition the Germans used for some purposes (any Jewish ancestry since 1800), then most people in Europe and North America are Jewish. If you use a “one drop” rule (used in the United States to determine race), dated back to the time of Avraham Aveinu, then probably most people in the world are “Jewish.”

    In reality, history has shown that a meaningful definition of Jewish is someone who is: 1) halachically a Jew; 2) Shomer Shabbos and Shomer Kashrus. By this definition, the number will show that the Jewish population reached a nadir in 1945 (due to the holocaust and the mass assimilation in Europe and America), and has been soaring ever since (due to high fertility and a large number of baalei tseuvah). What determines the future of the Jewish people is the number of Jews are into Torah and Mitsvos.

    With the above definition, intermarriage is falling. Whereas 100 years it was not unheard of for a Jews who had been brought up keeping kosher and Shabbos to marry a shagetz/shiksa – today it is very rare.

    The hilonim community is panicking due to a demographic decline. They should be. They are dying out. But in many ways they are already dead. They have already abandonned Torah and MItsvos – they have consigned themselves to the dustbin of history. Meanwhile the real Jewish community, those who are following lives based on Torah and Mitsvos (whether they be kipah srugah types – or wear a streimel, or anything in between), are growing rapidly in both Eretz Yisrael and the disapora.

  2. YECHI says:

    The past number for Russia of 3 million is incorrect.. That was for the USSR so how do you compare?

    It is like comparing the so called Gedolim of today with the title Gaon( which is cheap like herring) to the real Gaonim of the pastof which there were few.

    I guess the worst the product , the fancier the packaging.

  3. musicaldignity says:

    It bothers me that when talking about the population of Jews there is a picture of Chasidim. That is not the majority of Jews – wish everyone would stop stereotyping Jews as Chasidim. I have nothing against Chasidim – just dont want it to be a generality

  4. vochindik says:

    In 1931, 92% of Jews were Ashkenazic. The holocaust changed that. Today, the Ashkenaz / Sephard worldwide demographic breakdown is about 80% Ashkenaz / 20% Sephardic. In Israel it is only slightly less and you can check this with the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, whose public website has all the census data. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, there are 3 million are Ashkenazim and 1.8 million Sephardim/Mizrachim Jews living in Israel. Outside Israel it is even a much much larger proportion of Ashkenaz. The vast majority of Sephardic Jews in the world live in Israel. The overwhelmingly vast vast majority of Jews outside Israel are Ashkenazim. The only other countries with notable Sephardic populations are France with 300,000 Sephardim and the U.S. with 200,000. After that it is 50k in Argentina and 20k in Turkey.

    Today, probably over 70% of Orthodox Jews are Ultra-Orthodox (Chareidim.) Apparently the Chareidi birth rate far far outpaces that of modern orthodoxy. And this has been the case for the past 50+ or so years.

    Also, traditional Orthodoxy has had a tremendous and ongoing influx of Baalei Teshuvas that cannot be discounted. (Much much greater than departures.) Aside from BT’s, there is a fair amount of formerly MO Jews that have become Chareidi.

  5. vochindik says:

    According to a University of Manchester study, not only will the Ultra-Orthodox be a majority of Orthodoxy but will be a majority of all Jewry:

    ‘Majority of Jews will be Ultra-Orthodox by 2050′

    23 Jul 2007

    Ultra-orthodox British and American Jews are set to outnumber their more secular counterparts by the second half of this century according to research by a University of Manchester academic. Historian Dr Yaakov Wise says the increase in religious British Jewry – recognisable by their traditional dress – is now outstripping the decline in the overall Jewish population which has been shrinking by one to two per cent each year since the 1950s. European ultra-orthodox Jewry is expanding more rapidly than at any time since before World War Two. Almost three out of every four British Jewish births, he says are ultra- orthodox who now account for 45,500 out of a total UK Jewish population of around 275,000 or 17 per cent.

    According to Dr Wise and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Professor Sergio Della Pergola, Israel is experiencing similar changes. Dr Wise said: “If current trends continue there is going to be a profound cultural and political change among British and American Jews – and it’s already well on the way. “This is in spite of demographic studies which show that the non-Ultra Orthodox Jewish population is flat or falling. “And you can see evidence for this in communities across the UK: in Greater Manchester for example the Ultra-orthodox number 8,500 which is almost a third of the 28,000 Jews in the region. “This is up from around one quarter only ten years ago. “Approximately half of all the Jewish under fives in Greater Manchester are Ultra-orthodox. “And in Greater London the Ultra-orthodox now account for 18 per cent of the Jewish population, up from less than 10 per cent in the early 1990s.”

    He added: “My work and that of Professor Sergio Della Pergola reveal a similar picture in Israel. “By the year 2020, the Ultra-orthodox population of Israel will double to one million and make up 17 per cent of the total population. “A recent Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics report also found that a third of all Jewish pupils will be studying at haredi schools by 2012, prompting emergency meetings at the Education Ministry. “In America too, where the Jewish population is stable or declining, Ultra-Orthodox Jewish numbers are growing rapidly. “Professor Joshua Comenetz from The University of Florida says the Ultra-orthodox population doubles every 20 years, which he says may make the Jewish community not only more religiously observant but more politically conservative. “Comenetz estimated the Ultra-orthodox population in 2000 was about 360,000, 7.2 per cent of the approximately 5 million Jews in the U.S. “But in 2006, demographers now estimate the number had grown to 468,000 or 9.4 per cent.”

    (The UK figures were based on census data plus the regular monitoring of Jewish births by academics in Manchester and Leeds.)

  6. vochindik says:

    Aided by Orthodox, City’s Jewish Population Is Growing Again

    Joseph Berger, New York Times, June 11, 2012

    After decades of decline, the Jewish population of New York City is growing again, increasing to nearly 1.1 million, fueled by the “explosive” growth of the Hasidic and other Orthodox communities, a new study has found. It is a trend that is challenging long-held notions about the group’s cultural identity and revealing widening gaps on politics, education, wealth and religious observance.

    Those findings, contained in the first authoritative study of the city’s Jewish population in nearly a decade, challenges the entrenched image of Jews as liberal, affluent and well educated. Over the last decade wealthy, Ivy League graduates like those on the Upper West Side have increasingly lost population share relative to Orthodox groups, like the Hasidic population in Brooklyn, where college degrees are rare and poverty rates have reached 43 percent.

    Members of these Orthodox groups also have been known to be far more likely to adopt more conservative positions on matters like abortion, same-sex marriage and the Israeli approach to the Palestinians.

    At the same time, among non-Orthodox Jews, there has been a weakening in observance of quintessential Jewish practices. Participation in Passover Seders has declined: 14 percent of households never attend one, almost twice as many as a decade ago. Reform and Conservative movements each lost about 40,000 members between 2002 and 2011; nearly a third of the respondents who identified themselves as Jews said they did not ally themselves with a denomination or claimed no religion.

    “There are more deeply engaged Jews and there are more unengaged Jews,” said Jacob B. Ukeles, a social policy analyst and one of the principal authors of the study, which was sponsored by UJA-Federation of New York. “These two wings are growing at the expense of the middle. That’s the reality of our community.”

    That shift appears quite likely to grow even more pronounced. Now, 40 percent of Jews in the city identify themselves as Orthodox, an increase from 33 percent in 2002; 74 percent of all Jewish children in the city are Orthodox.

    The New York area’s Jewish population is the largest in the world outside of Israel. It composes about one-third of the American Jewish population, which has been estimated at around six million (the census does not ask about religion)…

    The rate of intermarriage remains at roughly 22 percent for all couples, but it is growing among the non-Orthodox. Between 2006 and 2011, the study found, one out of two marriages in which one partner was a non-Orthodox Jew was to a person who was not Jewish and did not convert to Judaism…

    The study put the number of Russian-speaking Jews — those who immigrated from the Soviet Union starting in the 1970s and their descendants — at 220,000. And it counted 493,000 Jews in Orthodox households, including so-called modern Orthodox, Hasidim and a third group commonly known as “black hat,” or “yeshivish,” who are as rigorous as the Hasidim but do not ally with a particular grand rabbi the way Hasidim do. The latter two groups are expected to grow but are “known to be self-segregated and relatively disconnected from the rest of the Jewish community,” the study said…

  7. vochindik says:

    Basically the June NY Times article says that the Jewish population in New York is increasing again for the first time in many decades. This is a result of the “explosive” population growth of the Ultra-Orthodox Hasidim and Black Hat Yeshvish communities. (It actually uses the terms Hasidic, black hat and Yeshivish in the article.)

    It says there are 1.1 million Jews in New York City (which has the largest Jewish population in the world outside Israel and the city represents a third of all American Jewry), and of those 493,000 are Orthodox and another 220,000 are Russian Jews.

    In 2012, 40% of all Jews in NYC are Orthodox (up from 33% in 2002), but 74 percent of all Jewish children in the city are Orthodox.

    It also notes that while the Orthodox community is growing and becoming more religious (and isolated), the non-Orthodox are shrinking, becoming less religious and more and more don’t even identify themselves with any stream of Judaism.

  8. vochindik says:

    Based on the just released UJA 2012 Jewish population study, the forward reports that “Among the Orthodox, ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jews are the largest group, at 16% of the Jewish population of the eight counties counted in the survey. They outnumber both Modern Orthodox Jews, at 10% of the total Jewish population, and non-Hasidic ultra-Orthodox Jews, at 6% of the population.”

    That means that within Orthodoxy the Chareidim make up 69% of the population (the Chasidim alone are 50% of the overall Orthodox and the Litvish/non-Chasidish are 19% of the overall Orthodox) while the Modern Orthodox represent 31% of the Orthodox. So the OP was pretty much on the button.

    Also, according to the UJA 2012 report, half of the non-Orthodox marriages between 2006 and 2011 was to a non-Jew.

    And while Jews make up a slightly smaller proportion of the population in New York than they did a decade ago, they are way up in Brooklyn. Now, 22% of Brooklynites are Jewish, compared to 18% a decade ago. So while Brooklyn is becoming more Jewish, the other four boroughs of NYC are becoming less Jewish.

  9. kitzur_dot_net says:

    How many of these are *halachic* yidden?

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