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Annual Christmas report says Israel’s Christian population has grown to 185,000

Central Bureau of Statistics study finds community, concentrated largely in country’s north, grew by 2% in 2021

Illustrative: A Christmas parade outside the Church of the Nativity, believed to be the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on the eve of the Christmas holiday, December 24, 2022. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)
Illustrative: A Christmas parade outside the Church of the Nativity, believed to be the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on the eve of the Christmas holiday, December 24, 2022. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

Israel’s Christian community grew by 2% in 2021 to 185,000 people, representing 1.9% of the state’s total population, the Central Bureau of Statistics’ annual report on the community said Sunday.

Released on Christmas day, the report noted that more than three-quarters of Israel’s Christian population were Arab, comprising nearly 7% of the country’s full Arab population.

The majority of Christians in Israel (70%) live in the country’s north, predominantly in Nazareth and Haifa. Some 13,000 reside in Jerusalem.

The report said that 52.9% of Arab Christians and 31.2% of non-Arab Christians continue on to higher studies after completing high school, which is a larger proportion than both the Arab Muslim population (31.2%) and the Jewish population (48.2%).

At university, Arab Christians were over-represented in social sciences, law, mathematics, statistics and computer sciences, but were under-represented in education, business and management sciences and paramedical sciences.

Palestinians march during a Christmas parade outside the Church of the Nativity, believed to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Christmas eve, December 24, 2022. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

“The total fertility rate of a Christian woman [in 2021] was an average of 1.77 children per woman, [compared to] 1.8 in 2019. The number of children per Arab Christian woman was lower still, at 1.68 children per woman,” the report said.

The average size of a Christian household was 3.06 people, on par with that of a Jewish household (3.05), but lower than a Muslim household (4.46).

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