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Census: Australian Jewry growing

The number of Australian Jews rose 5.4 percent in five years, to 88,801 people, according to Australia’s 2006 census.The results, released Wednesday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, showed that a greater number of Australians elected to designate Judaism as their faith in the 2006 census. However, because religion is the only non-mandatory question in the census, the growth could indicate increased willingness to identify as Jewish, rather than Jewish population expansion.Australian Jews generally estimate their community at more than 100,000 souls, explaining that the many Holocaust survivors there tend to dislike disclosing their religion to census takers. Melbourne has 46 percent of the country’s Jews followed by Sydney, with 41 percent, according to the census data. The country ranks as the 10th-largest national Jewish community worldwide, according to the 2002 World Jewish Population Study.Jews constitute about 0.4 percent of Australia’s 20 million people.