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World’s 13 Million Jews Reached Zero Population Growth in 1982

April 2, 1984
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The world’s 13 million Jews reached zero population growth in 1982, according to newly released figures published in the 1984 American Jewish Year Book.

The report, prepared by Professors U.O. Schmelz and Sergio Della Pergola of the Institute of Contemporty Jewry at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, noted that a 91,000 gain in Jewish population in Israel between 1980 and 1982 was offset by a comparable numerical decline in teh diaspora.

“Jews in most countries of the diaspora are demographically characterized by very low fertility, considerable out-marriage, involving losses of children to the Jewish population, other assimilatory losses and great aging,” stated the authors.

Jewish emigration to North America, the report indicates, was neutralized by internal demographic losses.


In a Year Book study of the U.S. population written by Alvin Chenkin, of the Council of Jewish Federations, the total American Jewish population is reported to have remained unchanged over the last year, at about 5.728 million. American Jews continued to migrate to the Sun Belt, with California posting the largest increase — 13,265 Jews. Texas, Arizona, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Florida also reported Jewish population gains.

In the world population study, the authors noted that, for the first time, the fertility rates of Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews in Israel were found to be virtually the same. Both groups’ fertility rates surpassed those of Diaspora Jews and of the general populations in developed countries.


According to the Year Book, 95 percent of the world’s Jews reside in nine nations, which are, according to size: the United States, 5.728 million; Israel, 3.374 million; the Soviet Union, 1.63 million; France, 530,000; Great Britain, 350,000; Canada, 308,000; Argentina, 233,000; South Africa, 119,000;’ and Brazil, which has 100,000 Jews.

In Argentina, the study cited a drop of 9,000 Jews, the result of increased emigration. In the USSR, the Jewish population fell by 70,000 between 1980 and 1982. The authors argued that overaging and other internal factors rather than emigration were primarily responsible for the decline in Soviet Jewish population.

The size of the major European Jewish communities remained roughly unchanged. However, the authors suggested that a trend toward decline was inevitable in Europe in view of the demographic problems of the diaspora as a whole.

Australia, with 75,000 Jews, has the next largest Jewish population; followed by Hungary with 63,000; Mexico ,32,000; West Germany, 33,500; Belgium, 32,500; Italy, 32,000; Iran, Rumania and Uruguay, each 30,000; and Ethiopia with 27,000 Jews, most of whom now are trying to emigrate to Israel.

The American Jewish Year Book is published by the American Jewish Committee. The editors are Milton Himmelfarb and David Singer. The book sells for $23.50.

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