On the eve of Israel’s 68th birthday, the country’s population stands at 8,522,000, according to figures released Monday by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
There are 6,377,000 Jewish Israelis, 74.8% of the total population, and 1,771,000 Arab Israelis, 20.8% of the population, the bureau said. Christians, non-Arabs, and other minority groups account for 374,000 people, or 4.4% of the population.
By comparison, the nascent State of Israel had a population of just 806,000 in 1948.
Israel’s Independence Day begins with celebrations on Wednesday night, as the country transitions from Memorial Day — 24 hours of mourning for its fallen soldiers and terror victims.
In the 12 months since last Independence Day, the population increased by 182,000 people, a growth of 2.2%, the CBS said. During that period, 195,000 babies were born, 47,000 people passed away and some 36,000 new immigrants arrived in Israel. There are also some 192,000 foreigners in the country, based on figures from 2014.
Among the Jewish population, 75% are Israeli-born, of whom more than half are at least second-generation Israelis. In 1948, however, just 35% of the Jews living in Israel were born in pre-state Palestine.
In 1948, there was only one city in Israel that had more than 100,000 residents — Tel Aviv. Today, there are 14 cities with more than 100,000 residents and eight cities that have a population of 200,000 or more — Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Rishon Lezion, Petah Tikva, Ashdod, Netanya, and Beersheba.
The bureau also touted growing affluence in the country since the Jewish state’s salad days, noting that while there were 34,103 cars tooting about in 1951, in 2014 there were 2,965,727 clogging Israel’s roadways.
Similarly, while in 1956/1957 only 12 percent of Israelis had washing machines, today 96% do.
About the same number of people have cell phones today, while in 1963, only 13% had a phone line.
At the current rate of growth, by 2035 the population of Israel will reach 11.3 million people, the CBS estimated.