How many Christians are there in the Holy Land?

Estimates of how many Christians are in the Holy Land are a source of lively debate. Christians are between 2 to 3% of the total population of the Holy Land today (over 2% in Israel and Jordan and under 2% in Palestine). This constitutes a major decrease in their proportion of the population since 1948.

In the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan there are:

– about 250 000 Christian citizens who are Jordanian and Palestinian Arabs,

– tens of thousands of Christian migrant workers from Asia and Africa,

– thousands of Christians among the refugees from Syria and Iraq.

In the State of Israel, there are:

– about 120 000 to 130 000 Christian citizens who are Palestinian Arabs,

– about 30 000 to 40 000 Christian citizens who are integrated into the Jewish Israel Hebrew speaking population (most of them Russian speakers),

– about 150 000 Christian migrants (105 000 migrant workers (mostly from the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Ghana, Latin America and Eastern Europe) and about 45 000 African asylum seekers (mostly from Eritrea).

In the Palestinian Autonomy (and East Jerusalem) there are:

– about 50 000 Christians, almost all of them Palestinian Arabs (about 38 000 in the West Bank, about 10 000 in Jerusalem and about 2 000 in the Gaza Strip).

Christians constituted more than 10% of the population before 1948. The dramatic change occurred in the aftermath of 1948 and was due to the enormous increase in the number of Jews and the exit of many Palestinian refugees, including Christians. The continued emigration of Christian Arabs from the Holy Land and the decrease in the number of children per family within the Christian Arab community makes the decrease in the proportionate representation of the Christians in the general population an ongoing concern.

Only about 20% of Christian Palestinians live in their historic homeland today. The rest live in the Diaspora.