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Israel sees drop in immigration

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According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, immigration to the country has dropped significantly since the early 1990s. The number if immigrants dropped 9% in 2006 from the previous year.

In 1990, almost 200,000 people immigrated to Israel, most from Former Soviet Union (FSU) countries. After 1991, in which 176,100 immigrants arrived in the country, the numbers declined steadily - from 77,057 in 1992 to 19,264 in 2006.

In 2006, the FSU countries continue to be the leading source of immigrants at 39%. However, that number is down 19% for European FSU countries and down 29% for FSU countries in Asia from the previous year.

As a group, immigrants from the United States were one of the few exceptions. Their numbers rose by 5% over the previous year for a total of 2,157.

The US, with more than 5 million Jews, constitutes the largest potential pool of immigrants to Israel, which has historically depended on immigration as a source for its population.

In a historic sense, the statistics are nothing new. The last large immigration wave before the influx of immigrants in the early 90s was immediately after the state's formation in 1947. At its peak in 1948, Israel saw an estimated 240,000 immigrants arrive.

The average amount of immigration for each year in the following decades declined slowly until the 90s, particularly in the 80s, which only saw an average 15,400 arrive each year. Since 2000, an average 31,700 immigrants have been arriving in Israel each year.

While the numbers are declining, Israel remains very open to immigration, particularly to Jewish immigrants, who are automatically granted citizenship.

Almost 3,000,000 people have immigrated to Israel since the nation was founded. The current population of the country is just over 7 million.


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