Jews to Make Up 70% of Population by 2025

Israel's population will reach 9.3 million in 2025, an increase of 45 percent compared to 6.4 million at the end of 2000, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported yesterday.

Seventy percent, or 6.5 million, of Israel's residents in 2025 will be Jewish. The average annual population growth rate in 2001-2025 will be 1.5 percent, compared to 1.8 percent in 2001-2005, and 2.6 percent in 1995-2000. According to the forecast, the Jewish population will grow in 2001-2025 by 1.1 percent annually, or 60,000 people.

The Arab population is expected to reach 2.3 million, or 25 percent, of Israel's population in 2025, compared to 19 percent, or 1.2 million, today. The Arab population will increase at a rate of 45,000 per year, a growth rate of 2.7 percent. The rest of the population that is neither Jewish nor Arab will reach 435,000 in 2025, or 5 percent of the population, compared to 226,000, or 4 percent of the population, at the end of 2000. This population will increase by an annual average of 8,000 people, a growth rate of 2.7 percent.

The CBS forecast presents three alternative estimates: high, medium and low. The numbers cited in the survey represent the medium estimate. The figures presume that an Israeli woman's average number of births will decrease from 2.9 in the beginning of the period, 2001-2005, to 2.7 at the end of the period, 2021-2025. Life expectancy will rise during this period by 2.6 years for both women and men, reaching 79.8 and 83.8 respectively. During this time, 543,000 people will immigrate to Israel.

The number of emigrants leaving the country is expected to be 340,000. According to the forecast, Israel's population will continue to age, like most Western countries. The number of people over the age of 65 will rise from 623,000 at the end of 2000 to 1.2 million at the end of 2025, and their proportion of the population will rise from 10 to 13 percent. The number of people over the age of 75 will grow from 276,000 to 505,000, and their proportion of the population will grow from 4.3 to 5.5 percent.

The median age of the population (the age at which half of the population is older and half younger) will rise from 28 to 31. The number of children between the ages of 0-14 will grow from 1.8 million to 2.4 million, however, their proportion of the population will decrease from 28 to 26 percent. The number of people of working age, 15-64, will rise from 3.9 million to 5.7 million.

The predicted growth rate of the population in Israel is significantly higher than the growth rate expected in the developed world, as forecast by the UN, and lower than that in areas defined by the world body as less developed, including Arab countries in the Middle East.