Israel's Population Nears 7.8m

Official demographic report reflects growing birth and immigration rates, flight to center of country

Israel's population now stands at 7,797,400, according to the traditional Central Bureau of Statistics Report for the New Year, released yesterday.

Israel's population is considered relatively young, with 28 percent of the population aged 14 or under, compared with an average of 17 percent in other Western countries.

Israel's population consists of 5,874,300 Jews, 1,600,100 Arab and 323,000 "others," mainly immigrants from the former Soviet Union whom the authorities do not consider Jewish.

Israel's population grew in 2010 by 1.9 percent, as it has in each of the past eight years.

Israel has an average of 979 men for every 1,000 women. Up to age 29, there are more men than women and over age 30 there are more women than men. In the 75-plus age group there are 684 men for every 1,000 women.

Israeli Jews are increasingly postponing marriage: In the 25-29 age group, 64.4 percent of men and 45.5 percent of women were unmarried in 2009, compared to 54 percent and 38.1 percent, respectively, in 2000.

Among Muslims in the same age group, in 2009 just 43.5 percent of men and 19 percent of women were unmarried.

A total of 16,633 people immigrated to Israel in 2010, a 14 percent rise from 2009. The majority of immigrants originated from Russia (3,404 ), the United States (2,530 ), France (1.775 ), Ukraine (1,752 ) and Ethiopia (1,655 ).

Continuing a trend from previous years, there were more female immigrants than males, at 919 males for every 1,000 females.

A total of 41 percent of the population lives in the center of the country - around 24 percent in the central district and 17 percent in the Tel Aviv district. Four percent of Israelis lives in Jewish settlements of the West Bank.

Sixty percent of Israeli Arabs live in the north. Arabs, mainly Bedouin, make up 13 percent of the population of the south of the country.

Continuing the trend of the past two decades more Israelis moved to the center of the country than left it in 2010; the region gained 9,900 inhabitants. The West Bank also recorded a positive migration balance, with a net gain of 3,500 people in 2010, albeit the pace has slowed. Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and both the north and the south as a whole saw a negative migration balance.

The birth rate rose in 2010 by 3.2 percent, with 166,255 babies born. The average number of children per mother stood at 3.03, with the trend continuing of more births per mother: The Among Jewish mothers, the figure was 2.97, the highest since 1977. Muslim mothers are having slightly more children on average: 3.73 percent in 2009 and 3.75 in 2010. Among Christians, the figure was 2.14 children per mother in 2010.

Among the Jewish population, 8 percent defined themselves as ultra-Orthodox, 12 percent as religious, 13 percent as traditional-religious, 25 percent traditional to not very religious and 42 percent as not religious or secular.