Christians in Israel, By the Numbers
Despite some wild claims to the contrary, Christians are thriving in the Jewish state
On the eve of Christmas, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) released their 2019 report showing that the number of Christians living in Israel is growing at about the same rate as the Jewish population, while the Muslim population is faster than both.
The report shows that about 177,000 Christians live in Israel.
Approximately 77.5% of Christian citizens of Israel are Arabs, while the Arab Christian population makes up only about 7% of the entire Arab sector.
The Christian population in Israel grew by 1.5% in 2019. For comparison, the rate of growth in the Jewish population in 2019 was just slightly higher at 1.7%, and the Muslim population even higher at 2.3% growth.
Most of Israel’s Arab Christians live in the north of the country (71%). The number of Christians who are not Arabs has also risen in Israel, chiefly since the 1990’s. The non-Arab Christians are mostly members of Jewish families who immigrated to Israel under the Law of Return. About 41% of these non-Arab Christians live in Tel Aviv and the Central region of the country, compared to 34% in the North and Haifa region.
The largest Arab Christian population is located in Nazareth with about 22,000 Arab Christians, followed by Haifa with about 16,000, Jerusalem with 13,000 and Sheferam, a Christian Arab town in the Galilee, with some 10,000. In the three major cities of Israel, there is a high concentration of non-Arab Christians – 4,000 in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, 3,900 in Haifa and 3,300 in Jerusalem.
The average number of children under the age of 17 in all Christian families is 1.87. These figures are lower compared to the Jewish families, where the number is 2.37 children, and Muslim families, where the number stands at 2.77 children per family. About 12% of the Christian population in Israel are above the age of 65, compared to 14% among the Jews and only 4% among Muslims.
The percent of women studying in higher education, especially in advanced degree programs, among the Christian population is higher than all other sectors of the Israeli population. About 74% of Christian students who studied toward a masters degree were women, compared to 63% of female students among non-Christian populations. In doctoral studies, 63% percent of Christian students are women, compared to 53% of female students in the general population.
The highest percent of students who received a high school matriculation certificate that meets the requirements to enter university stood at 70.9% among the Christian Arabs. Among the students in the Hebrew educational system, the matriculation rate is 70.6%, among Druze about 64%, and Muslims about 45%.