SYDNEY, Australia, July 1 (JTA) — Australia’s Jewish community is growing, according to the latest census figures. Those figures show some 84,000 Jews in Australia, or about 0.44 percent of Australia’s total population of 19 million. The total is 4,000 higher than in 1996, but the actual number of Jews may be even higher, as religion is an optional question on the census form. Jewish community leaders believe the actual number of Jews is around 120,000. About a quarter of Australia’s population preferred not to answer the religion question, according to officials. Jewish leaders believe that many Holocaust survivors are among those who prefer not to disclose their religion. Adelaide was the only city to show a decrease in its Jewish population. Melbourne has the nation’s largest Jewish population. Most recent Jewish emigres come from South Africa, the census showed. The census also found that for 6,000 Australians, Hebrew is the preferred language at home. Yiddish is spoken at home by 2,667. It also found that there are more than 280,000 Muslims in Australia, or about 1.5 percent of the total population. Some 210,000 Australians speak Arabic at home, the census found. The figures had some bad news for Australian Jewish women: According to the census, they outnumber Jewish men by 43,600 to 40,300.
Australian Jews’ numbers growing