Middle East | 14 March 2022

Israel: Christian numbers rise, but population percentage falls

Show: false / Country: Middle East /
According to figures published on 24 December 2021 by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, the number of Christians in Israel has been increasing since the founding of the Jewish state in 1948. However, the percentage of Christians in Israel"s population has been falling compared to other faith communities. Agenzia Fides reported in an article published on 12 January 2022 that according to these official figures: "182,000 Christians are currently living in Israel, which corresponds to 1.9 percent of the total population, while the growth rate of the Christian population in the Jewish state in 2020 was 1.4 percent." This is much lower than the growth rate of the Jewish and Muslim populations, of whom 6.69 million and 1.6 million respectively lived in the country in 2019. The difference in percentage growth is explained, among other things, by a lower birth rate among Christians compared to that of the other faith communities: "In 2020 there were a total of 2,497 new births in Christian families, while the average number of children up to the age of seventeen in a Christian family was 1.93 (the lowest birth rate of any part of Israeli society, considering the average number of children in Jewish families is 2.43 and in Muslim families 2.60)." On a more positive note, Christians are recorded as having the highest education levels, especially among Christian women. Another positive finding is that 84% of Christians say they are satisfied with their living conditions. World Watch Research analyst Henriette Kats comments: "Israel is one of the few - if not the only - country in the Middle East where the number of Christians has grown over recent years. World Christian Database figures (used in WWR"s Full Country Dossier on Israel published in March 2022) lists the total number of Christians in Israel at 175,000. Nevertheless, the trend remains the same. However, it should be noted that the percentual decline relative to the Jewish and Muslim communities is not only due to a lower birth rate among Christians: Migration also plays a significant role and explains why the percentage of Christians within the Arab community in Israel is falling. A country expert, who is an Arab-Israeli Christian, reports that this is causing the political and economic influence of the Christian community to diminish as well, which in turn is causing an increasing number of young people in particular to consider emigration. The high level of education among Christians, as well as their ties to the Western world, make it relatively easy for them to make the move to the West." Henriette Kats adds: "Christians in Israel enjoy democratic and religious freedoms unprecedented in the region, adding to their sense of well-being. At the same time, there has been an increase in vandalism of churches and other Christian sites as well as occasional verbal and physical abuse of Christian clergy by radicals in the Jewish and Islamic communities. To ensure that Israel remains a safe place for Christians where their numbers can continue to grow, it is important that these issues are addressed."


Our site uses cookies


We use cookies and other technologies on our website. Some of them are essential, while others help us to improve this website and your experience. We use them, among other things, to offer you an option for secure donations and anonymously evaluate access to our website. It also allows us to share our own YouTube videos on the website. Depending on the function, the data is passed on to third parties and processed by them. More information on The use of your data can be found in our Privacy Policy. You can revoke or adjust your choice at any time under Cookie Settings.

Accept all
Accept Neccessary