A new study examining the demographic characteristics of the Israeli population living in the UK has shown that during the first decade of the 21st century, the number of Israelis migrating to Britain outnumbered the number of British Jews migrating to Israel by a ratio of three to two.
Entitled Britain’s Israeli diaspora, and authored by Dr David Graham, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, the study draws on recently-commissioned UK Census data to investigate both the size of the Israeli population living in Britain and some of its key characteristics.
The report demonstrates that the Israeli population of the UK has grown over time and now stands at its highest ever recorded level. It estimates that the population increased by 350% between 1971 and 2011, and grew at a particularly rapid rate of about 4% per annum between 2001 and 2011.
Nevertheless, the data indicate that in 2011 the Israeli population living in the UK numbered approximately 25,000 people – a considerably lower count than many others have claimed.
According to Dr Jonathan Boyd, JPR’s Executive Director, “Many people have attempted to estimate the size of the Israeli population in Britain over the years, but the evidence in this report almost certainly constitutes the most reliable that exists. It is not perfect, but our estimates are based on solid demographic data that measure ‘Israeliness’ by a combination of country of birth, passports held, ethnicity, national identity and language spoken, and takes into consideration any undercount that may exist in UK Census data. It largely excludes short-term residents – i.e. those staying in the UK for three or more, but less than twelve months – as would be the case for any permanent population estimate.”
The report further notes that this population is not exclusively Jewish. Just under 10% declares a religion other than Jewish (mostly Christian), and a further 16% are ‘religious nones’ – people who may be Jewish by ancestry, ethnicity or even behaviour, but neither identify as Jewish in the census nor declare a non-Jewish religion. However, at the other end of the religious spectrum, an estimated 16% are strictly Orthodox – or haredi – and live among the haredi communities in Britain.