European Jewish Population at Its Lowest Level Since 1170, New Report Reveals
The proportion of the global Jewish population who reside in Europe has fallen below 10 percent according to a new report issued this week — the lowest Jewish population level on the continent in almost 900 years.
“At the time of writing, the proportion of Jews residing in Europe is about the same as it was at the time of the first Jewish global population account conducted by Benjamin of Tudela, a Jewish medieval traveler, in 1170,” stated the report, published by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR), a London-based think tank.
According to the report — authored by Daniel Staesky of JPR and Sergio della Pergola, an expert on Jewish demography — the number of those identifying as Jewish in Europe fell by nearly 60 percent in the last 50 years.
The number of Jews now stands at 1.3 million — down from 3.2 million in 1970, according to the data, which covered European Union member states, the United Kingdom, Turkey and Russia.
The report was based on census information as well as data compiled by individual Jewish communities.
Much of the population decline was still traceable to the Holocaust, the report noted.
“While the demographic consequences of the Shoah are not discussed here in detail, it must be kept in mind that its after-effects long impacted upon Jewish population composition and trends,” the report stated. “They still powerfully determine the meaning of Jewish communal life in contemporary Europe in various ways. By 1945 the European share of world Jewry had fallen to 35%, and it fell further to 26% in 1970 and to 9% in 2020. The percent decline was nearly exclusively felt in Eastern Europe, whose share of the global total diminished from 26% in 1945 to 17% in 1970 to 2% in 2020. Western Europe kept its share of global Jewry relatively more constant, from 9% in 1945 to 7% in 2020.”
Of the approximately 15 million Jews in the world today, almost seven million live in Israel, with close to six million in the United States.