One study predicted that in the next 80 years America's Jewish population would decline by one-third to 3.8 million if current fertility rates and migration patterns continue. In the same period, according to the study, the number of Jews in Israel would likely double, swelling to 10 million. The study also anticipated a severe decline in the number of Jews in the former Soviet Union. By 2080, the data suggested, the Jewish community there would be virtually non-existent.
Among the study's conclusions was that Israel would be home to the world's largest Jewish community as early as 2020, and the majority of the world's Jews by 2050. Between the years 2030 to 2040 the majority of Jews will be living in Israel rather than in the Diaspora, where communities are aging.
In 2000, 48.35% of Jewish children 14 and under lived in Israel. By 2020, that number is expected to reach 59.20%.
The study noted in particular the rapidly aging Diaspora community, saying that by the year 2080, more than 40 percent of Diaspora Jews would be 65 and older.
Ira Sheskin of the University of Miami, a principal architect of the 2000 National Jewish Population Survey, which is currently under way, called the recent projections "a great starting point for discussion." But, he added: "Think if this were the year 1900, what could we have predicted? The Holocaust? The State of Israel? The very concept" of projections "is a difficult one."
· 9 years ago