The Central Bureau of Statistics estimates that 14,511,000 Jews live in the world today, a number that is around 2 million lower than on the eve of the Holocaust when the Jewish population was 16.6 million.

The slow growth of Jewish population is an important matter to consider. World population has tripled since 1948 from 2.5 billion to 7.5 billion, while Jewry has only increased by 26%.

The slow growth might seem confusing, given the fact that fertility rates among Jews (2.3 children per women) are not that far from the world average (2.5 c/w). A 0.2 difference in fertility rates may not explain a population growth difference of 274%.

Population rates appear to improve as a consequence of Aliyah (the migration of Jews back to Israel). Jewish fertility rates in Israel are 2.8 c/w as opposed to 1.9 c/w in the US and 1.8 in c/w Europe. Therefore, increased migration to Israel may mean that more Jews will now have more children.

However, it is argued that one of the main causes for the Jewish population not to grow has been the out-marriages. This means that Jews marry non-Jews, thus their children are not considered to be “Jews”, but “partially Jews”.

If partially Jews were considered Jews, then Jewry would have recovered to prior-Holocaust levels, but Sergio DellaPergolla (perhaps the most well-known expert on Jewish demographics) contests this notion asking, “If the United States had 6.7 million holders of a doctorate, and 1 million of these hold a doctorate partly, how many Ph.D.s are there in America?”

DellaPergolla’s estimates suggest that had the Holocaust not happened the Jewish population would have been at least 26 million or possibly 32 million in 2015.

Jewish population by region

In 2018, Israel is the country with the largest Jewish population with 6.45 million as opposed to 449,000 in 1939. The United States has the world’s second-largest Jewish population, with 5.7 million people, France has 456,000 Jews, and Canada has 390,000.

Further down the list, Britain has some 290,000 Jews, Argentina is home to 181,000, Russia has 176,000, Germany has 117,000 and 113,000 Jews live in Australia.

World Jewry is expected to increase by 16% in 2050 compared with 2010; however, this growth would only happen in two regions, Middle East-North Africa (46%) and Asia-Pacific (21%). Meanwhile, the Jewish population is expected to decrease in Europe (-15%), Sub-Saharan Africa (-29%), Latin America-Caribbean (-3%) and North America (-2%).

Estimations for 2050 suggest that Jewish population will grow to 8.18 million in Israel, decrease to 5.36 million in the US, grow to 560,000 in Canada, decrease to 350,000 in France, decrease to 240,000 in the UK, decrease to 190,000 in Germany, decrease to 170,000 in Argentina, increase to 150,000 in Australia and decrease to 111,000 in Russia.