Jewish Population

Level: Basic

• There are about 13-14 million Jews in the world
• About 80% of them live in Israel and the United States

How many Jews are there in the world? That's a difficult question to answer, because not every country keeps track of such things, and not every Jew chooses to admit such things, particularly in countries where Jews are persecuted.

Most estimates I have seen suggest that there are about 13-14 million Jews in the world. The vast majority of these Jews live in either the United States and Israel, both with 5-6 million Jews. There are about 1.5 million Jews in Europe, 400,000 in Latin America and 350,000 in Canada. In Africa, there are less than 100,000 Jews, about 90% of whom live in the country of South Africa. There are about 100,000 Jews in Australia and New Zealand combined. There are about 50,000 Jews in Asia (not including Israel).

Perhaps the most comprehensive study of Jewish population, both modern and historical, is World Jewish Population 2002. Part of this is reproduced on the JAFI website.

The American Jewish Committee includes a survey of American Jewish population in its annual American Jewish Yearbook, with periodic compilations of world Jewish population. Their population studies have been reproduced with permission at the North American Jewish Data Bank. Their 2010 information has been reproduced in convenient table format with permission on the Jewish Virtual Library.

For a variety of statistical information about Jews in America, see the North American Jewish Databank. and their 2000 National Jewish Population Survey (NJPS). The site also includes information from their 1990 and 1971 surveys, and a number of more recent, smaller-scale surveys.

The CIA World Factbook includes information about religious population for each country. Click the continent on the map, then the country on the continent map. In the People section, it shows percentage of each major religion. In many countries, Jewish population is so small that it is included in "other".


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