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 14-15 million Jews in the world. The vast majority of these Jews live in either the United States or Israel; Israel with about 6.5 million Jews and America with about 5.7 million. There are about 1.5 million Jews in Europe (a third of them in France), 400,000 in Latin America and 400,000 in Canada. In Africa, there are less than 75,000 Jews, about 90% of whom live in the country of South Africa. There are about 125,000 Jews in Australia and New Zealand combined. There are about 40,000 Jews in Asia (not including Israel), half of them in former Soviet Union countries.

These numbers have hardly changed since I first wrote this page in 1998, while the world population has grown by more than a billion (20%) and United States population has grown by more than 15%. If Jewish world population growth had kept up with US population growth in that time, there would be more than 15 million Jews in the world today. Jewish population has been largely stagnant for a very long time, growing only about 25% since the Holocaust while the US population has more than doubled in that time.

The latest comprehensive study of Jewish population is 2018 World Jewish Population, reproduced on the Berman Jewish Databank's website. That site has many useful studies of Jewish population.

The American Jewish Committee includes a survey of American Jewish population in its annual American Jewish Yearbook, with periodic compilations of world Jewish population. Older issues of this are available online

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".

© Copyright 5759-5780 (1998-2020), Tracey R Rich
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