Demographics of Judaism

The controversial question of who is considered a Jew makes measuring Jewish populations difficult, but it is estimated that there are around 15 million Jews worldwide, about 0.2 percent of the global population. The two-millennia Jewish Diaspora led to the formation of separate ethnic communities with a shared tradition but distinct practices. German-descended Ashkenazi Jews comprise over 75 percent of the world’s Jewish population, and Iberian-descended Sephardic Jews comprise up to 20 percent. Today, Israel, the world’s only Jewish-majority state, is 75 percent Jewish and is home to nearly 40 percent of the world’s Jews. The United States has about as many Jewish citizens as Israel. Reform Judaism is the largest denomination of American Jews (about 38 percent) but has only a tiny presence in Israel. Conservative Judaism is the second largest US denomination (about 33 percent), and Orthodox the third (about 22 percent). According to opinion polls, half of all Israeli Jews consider themselves secular, around 35 percent consider themselves non-denominationally religious, and 15-20 percent consider themselves Orthodox or Ultra-Orthodox (Haredi).