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The Jews- Size & Distribution of their Religion

Updated on March 30, 2017
Interior of a Synagogue in India (Beth El Synagogue, Calcutta)
Interior of a Synagogue in India (Beth El Synagogue, Calcutta) | Source

Do you know which country has the largest population of the Jews? It is the USA. Israel comes only second. Still doubtful? Then study the table given below showing the Regional Distribution of Jews as of 2010. Some people have a wrong notion about the Jews population. They think it is Israel for some obvious reasons. Then, clear your doubts right now by reading this article.

There are approximately 15 million Jews in the world. They represent 0.27% of the global population.

The chief branches of Judaism in the US include the Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Re-constructionist movements. Since they are not familiar or relevant to Jews in many other countries, it is difficult to estimate the size of these movements globally. The distinctions are often made, in Israel and elsewhere, between Haredi or Ultra-Orthodox Jews, Modern Orthodox Jews and less traditional forms of Judaism.

The Table given below shows the Regional Distribution of Jews as of 2010.

Regional Distribution of Jews as on 2010

No. of Followers
% of Share
North America
Latin America & Caribbean
Sub-Sahara Africa
Middle East-North Africa
Note: Israel comes in the Middle East region.

Judaism is very much geographically concentrated today though Jews historically found all around the globe. More than 80% of Jews live in just two countries. As you guess, it is United States of America and Israel. They together share about 82% of the Jews' population. The largest remaining shares are in Canada (3%), France (2%), UK (2%), Germany (2%), Russia (2%) and Argentina (nearly 1.5%).

Is there any country with a Jewish majority? Yes, only one country. It is Israel. 76% of the people are Jewish. Though US has more Jews than Israel, (USA 5,690,000 & Israel 5,610,000), Christians are the majority in the USA. The Jewish ratio of Israel is 75.6%, whereas it is just 1.8% in the USA.

Jews are geographically concentrated mainly in North America (44%) and the Middle East-North Africa region (41%). The rest is found in Europe (10%), Latin America & the Caribbean (3%), Asia and the Pacific (between 1&2%) and Sub-Saharan Africa (less than 1%).

Jews make up nearly 2% of the total population in North America. The proportion is almost similar in the Middle East-North Africa region. In the remaining areas, they comprise less than 1% of the overall population.

The Kerala (India) Connection

In Kerala, my home state, Jews have their presence though negligible. It is in Mattancherry in Ernakulam district. In India Jews first reached in Kerala like the Muslims and Christians. History texts reveal that more than 10,000 Jews reached in Kodungalloor in AD 68 when their worship place was destroyed by the Romans. When Israel was formed in 1948, most of the Jews left India in search of their Promised Land. Now in Kerala as well as the rest of India, their number is too low and showing a declining trend.

The following Table will provide a convincing figure of the Jewish population around the globe. You will also know how the total Jewish population of 13,850,000 is shared across the world both number-wise and percentage-wise.

The synagogue at Fort Kochi, constructed in 1568, is the oldest in the Commonwealth. Destroyed in a shelling during the Portuguese raid in 1662, it was rebuilt two years later by the Dutch.
The synagogue at Fort Kochi, constructed in 1568, is the oldest in the Commonwealth. Destroyed in a shelling during the Portuguese raid in 1662, it was rebuilt two years later by the Dutch. | Source
(click column header to sort results)
Estimated Jewish Population (2010)  
Percentage of Population that is Jewish  
Percentage of world Jewsih Population  
United States
United Kingdom
Sub total for the 10 countries
Sb total for rest of World
World Total

Note: This article is based on the report published by Pew Research Centre on their research on "The Global Religious Landscape". Due credit is given to them.

© 2013 Sunil Kumar Kunnoth


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    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A well researched hub on The Jews- Size , you have updated this info very well.


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