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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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Question 2.22:
How many Jews are in the world?

Answer:

Any count of Jews in the world is just an estimate, due to the difficulties of defining exactly who is a Jew and the lack of formal surveys. However, according to the Information Please (http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0001484.html), a 1998 estimate is as follows:

                                                  Latin    North    Europe/
Rank  Religion      Total     %  Africa    Asia  America  America    Russia  Oceania
   1  Christians 1,943.0M 32.8%  356.3M  283.7M	  462.9M   256.9M    558.7M    24.5M
   2  Affiliated 1,835.4M 31.0%	 323.8M	 275.8M	  456.9M   222.7%    536.1M    20.0M
      Christians								    
   3  Muslims  	 1,164.6M 19.6%	 315.0M	 812.0M	    1.6M     4.3M     31.4M    	0.2M
   4  Roman    	 1,026.5M 17.3%	 114.3M	 106.4M	  442.8M    69.5M    286.1M    	7.3M
      Catholics				       	  
   5  Hindus   	   761.7M 12.8%	   2.4M	 755.5M	    0.8M     1.3M      1.4M    	0.3M
   6  Nonreligious 759.7M 12.8%	   4.9M	 600.8M	   15.3M    27.5M    108.0M    	3.2M
   7  Chinese  	   379.2M  6.4%	   0.03M 377.8M	    0.2M     0.8M      0.25M   	0.06M
      Folk Rel.
   8  Other    	   373.8M  6.3%   74.8M	 143.0M	   44.3M    83.5M     25.6M    	2.5M
      Christians								    
   9  Buddhists	   353.8M  6.0%	   0.1M	 348.8M	    0.6M     2.4M      1.5M    	0.3M
  10  Protestants  316.4M  5.3%	  74.4M	  44.0M	   45.3M    69.4M     76.8M    	6.5M
  11  Ethnic Rel.  248.6M  4.2%	  97.2M	 148.2M	    1.2M     0.4M      1.3M    	0.26M
  12  Orthodox     213.7M  3.6%	  33.7M	  15.2M	    0.5M     4.9M    158.8M    	0.68M
      Christians
  13  Atheists 	   149.9M  2.5%	   0.4M	 121.5M	    2.7M     1.6M     23.4M    	0.36M
  14  Unaffil. 	   107.7M  1.8%	  32.5M	   7.9M	    6.0M    34.2M     22.6M    	4.4M
  15  New Age  	   100.2M  1.7%    0.03M  98.5M     0.60M    0.76M     0.15M   	0.05M
  16  Anglicans	    63.7M  1.1%	  27.96M   0.86M    0.85M    3.2M     25.6M    	5.2M
  17  Sikhs    	    22.3M  0.4%	   0.05M  21.5M	     --	     0.5M      0.24M   	0.01M
  18  Jews          14.1M  0.2%	   0.23M  4.14M	    1.12M    5.99M     2.53M   	0.1M

As one can see, Jews make up a very small percentage of the people in the world.

Another source is http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Judaism/jewpop.html which states:

The estimated strength of world Jewry today is little more than 13 million. We say “estimated” not just because of the traditional Jewish reluctance to count its people, but also because of the impossible task of reaching out to so many unaffiliated Jews in the Diaspora.


The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

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