More Israelis Left Israel Than Moved Back in Six Year Record

16,700 left and 8,500 came back in 2015, in first year since 2009 that more Israelis exited than returned

New olim arrive in Israel from North America, 2015.
Gil Cohen-Magen

After years of a decline in the numbers of Israelis leaving the country for an extended period, the trend reversed itself in 2015 and for the first time since 2009 the number of leavers grew. 

Approximately 16,700 Israelis left the country to live overseas on a long-term basis in 2015, mostly with their families, while only about 8,500 returned after living abroad for at least a year, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported on Monday.  

The latest figures for the immigration balance are for 2015 because the statistics bureau figures for immigration only include Israelis who have lived outside of Israel for a continuous period of one year or more, so they have to wait a full year to do the calculations.  

The year 2015 also saw the lowest number of Israelis returning home any time in the past 12 years. The numbers of those returning has been steadily decreasing since 2012. 

Among those leaving, in 2015 the average age was 27.6 years and 53% were male. Among returnees, the average age was a slightly older 29.8 and 55% were male. Nearly two thirds of the returnees had been abroad for no more than three years.

The latest CBS figures show that two Israelis out of a 1,000 leave Israel to live overseas for an extended period, while only one out of 1,000 return.  

Around 95% of those leaving were Jews, who account for 80% of the overall population. However,  54% were born outside Israel and had immigrated to Israel from Europe (64%), or America and Australia (25%), while 11% moved to Israel from African or Asian countries.

From the founding of Israel in 1948 through 2015, about 720,000 Israelis have moved to live outside Israel and never returned to live here, the CBS said.

Today, the CBS estimates between 557,000 to 593,000 Israelis live outside of Israel, not including children born to Israelis living outside the country.