Statistics released on the final day of 2020 show the population increased this year by 1.7 percent to 9,291,000.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
As 2020 draws to a close the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) reported Thursday that Israel’s population has grown to 9.3 million people.
In its annual year-end announcement, the CBS reported that as of December 31 there are 6,870,000 Jews (73.9% of the total population), 1,956,000 Arabs (21.1%) and 456,000 other ethnic groups (5.0%). The total is almost double the 4.8 million people who lived in Israel in 1990.
The population increased this year by 151,000 persons (1.7%) with 176,000 new babies of whom 73.8% were born to Jewish mothers, 23.4% to Arab mothers and 2.8% to mothers of other ethnicities.
In 2020, some 20,000 new immigrants arrived in Israel during the year despite the coronavirus pandemic and another 11,000 Israelis moved back home. Although Aliyah – immigration to Israel – is down from the roughly 30,000 in 2019, Aliyah offices reported earlier this year that inquiries about moving to Israel have tripled compared to the same period last year.
The main countries from which immigrants came this year were: Russia (38.1%), Ukraine (15.1%), France (11.0%) and the US (10.7%).
During the year another 50,000 Israelis passed away including at least 3,318 who died from the coronavirus, while another 6,000 Israelis moved abroad for more than a year.
Back in 2010 when Israel’s population numbered 7.7 million the CBS projected that the population in 2020 would be 8.8 million and there would be 10 million people living in Israel in the year 2030. The country now appears to be on track to hit the 10 million mark by around 2025.
Coupled with the growth in population is the increased demand for energy and natural resources – especially water. Last month the Ministry of Energy announced a new 10-year plan to reduce energy consumption, in part to deal with greenhouse gas emissions, but also to manage the accelerated urbanization process in the country.
Although the eastern Mediterranean region has suffered from water depletion in recent years, the discovery of major offshore gas and oil fields has allowed Israel to use some of that energy to produce much of its domestic water requirements from the desalinization of sea water.