180,000 babies were born and 27,000 new immigrants arrived, mostly from Europe (20,200) but also from Russia, Ukraine and the United States.
Demographers say that Israel’s population is growing at a rate far higher than average for developed countries due both to a high birth rate and because of emigration. According to Professor Emeritus Sergio Della Pergola, a former chairman of the Herman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, “if we consider only the part of the country from Beer Sheva northward, Israel has the highest population density in the Western world.
“If we add the Negev which is not yet very populated, still Holland has a more density population… In five years we will get to 10 million people, but we will still have room to expand to the periphery,” Della Pergola said
Della Pergola also noted that although the Arab population is growing faster than the Jewish one, they will not become the majority in the foreseeable future.
“The proportion will grow, the Arab population may get to 22 or even 25 percent of the population. But the differences will remain stable because of the birth rate which is becoming similar in both the populations”
However, Della Pergola warned that the numbers he presents do not include Judea and Samaria. “If we consider the West Bank, of course, the numbers are completely different. In that case, the Jewish and Arab population are already half-half. The Arabs may even be a little bit more (than half),” said Della Pergola.