Israels population up 1.92% in 2002

Israels population has now reached 6.6 million.

Israels population currently numbers 6.6 million, after growing by 127,000 in 2002, a 1.9% increase. Israels rate of population increase is over double that in most European countries, but low, compared with Israels rate of increase during the era of mass immigration from the former Soviet Union.

The main reason for the drop in the rate of population growth is that fewer immigrants are coming to Israel. Immigration accounted for only 23% of the population increase in the past year, compared with 30% during the 1990s.

Israel had 5.3 million Jews, constituting 80% of the population. Arabs numbered 1.3 million, about a fifth of the population. 3.5% of Israels population is not listed in the population registry as Jews, although they immigrated to Israel under the Law of Return.

Only 34,000 immigrants came to Israel in 2002, compared with 44,000 in 2001. 19,000 immigrants arrived from the former Soviet Union, down sharply from 28,000 the previous year. 6,000 immigrants came from Argentina, more than a fourfold increase over the previous year, due to the financial crisis in that country. 3,000 immigrants arrived from Ethiopia, and 2,000 from France.

Immigrants from Argentina prefer to make their first homes in Israel in Raanana, Beer Sheva, Ashkelon, and Kfara Sava, while immigrants from France preferred Jerusalem, Ashdod, Netanya, Beit Shemsh, Bnei Brak, and Kochav Yaakov.

Published by Globes [online] - www.globes.co.il - on December 30, 2002

 
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