Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon/ Flash90

A new report released by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics sheds light on Christians living in Israel.

In 2011, 154,500 Christians lived in Israel, 2% of the State’s population.  Of those, 80.4% (124,218) are Christian Arabs.  The remainder are primarily immigrants who came from the former Soviet Union with Jewish members of their families under the Law of Return, as well as Ethiopians, Phillipinos, and Romanians.

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The largest Christian Arab town is Nazareth (22,200), followed by Haifa (13,800) and Jerusalem (11,600).  The largest population of non-Arab Christians resides in Tel Aviv and its environs, followed by the Haifa area, the south, and then the Jerusalem region.

The average age of Christian bridegrooms at the time of their first marriage was 29.1 In 2009, approximately 1.5 years older than the Jewish grooms, 2 years older than Druze grooms and 3.5 years older than Muslim grooms.  The average age of Christian brides was 24.5, about a year younger than Jewish brides, 3 years older than Druze brides, and 4 years older than Muslim brides.

The average number of minor children in Christian families is 2.2, with 2.3 in Jewish families and 3.1 in Muslim households. The Christian population growth rate is 1.3%.

According to the statistics, Christian Arabs had the highest rate of success on matriculation exams in the country in 2010, with 63% of Christian 12th graders earning certificates, compared with 58% of Jewish students, 55% of Druze students, and 46% of Muslim students.

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Malkah Fleisher is a graduate of Cardozo Law School in New York City. She is an editor/staff writer at JewishPress.com and co-hosts a weekly Israeli FM radio show. Malkah lives with her husband and two children on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
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