Interest in the future size, composition and age structure of the population has greatly increased in recent years due to the large number of immigrants who arrived in Israel – primarily from the (former) USSR. This interest stems from the need for economic and social policies adapted to the needs of a quickly growing and fast-changing population. The projections present potential developments in the size, composition and structure of Israel’s population, which are based on potential developments in fertility, mortality and migration patterns.
While these projections do not constitute an attempt to predict the future, they do provide a framework for the planning of social and economic services over the next two decades. The projections are presented in three variants: high, medium and low –corresponding to the size of the population in each variant.
One of the interesting findings of the present projections is that the three variants differ only slightly with regard to the future composition and structure of the population. The main differences between the three variants are the sizes of the population, although here too, there are no substantial differences (a difference of 10% at the end of the projection period between the high variant of 9 million and the low variant of 8.2 million residents).
One of the main findings of the projections, is the continued rapid growth of the population, together with an increase in the proportion of its elderly. The labor force that will be available to Israel’s economy will be older than in the past, the “burden” of the elderly will increase and the “burden” of children will decrease. The population aged 65 and over will number a million persons – twice its size in 1995.
The changes in age structure will be especially great in the Jewish population, whose proportion in the country’s total population will decrease – from 82% at present to 77% in the year 2020. The Arab population will begin aging, and the size of its elderly population will triple.
Israel will continue to be one of the most densely popululated nations in the world. In the year 2020, the population density in Israel will be similar to that of the most densely popululated country in Europe, the Netherlands (approximately 400 persons per square kilometer in the year 2020).
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