The Jewish population in Europe has declined at an alarming rate, according to a Pew Research Center report released Monday.
1.4 million Jews were estimated to still be living in Europe as of 2010 – just 10% of the world's 14 million Jews.
But that number has decreased significantly since 1939, Pew noted, adding that research from Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Sergio DellaPergola proves a steady decline in European Jewry over seven decades.
There were an 16.6 million Jews worldwide in 1939, just before the Holocaust, he said – and he estimates that 9.5 million, or 57% of world Jewry, lived in Europe. By the end of the Holocaust in 1945, the Jewish population of Europe had shrunk to 3.8 million, or 35% of the world’s 11 million Jews.
But even after the Holocaust, European Jewry shrank drastically. Between 1960 and 1991, European Jewry fell from 3.2 million (27%) to 2 million (16%) – and nearly halved by 2010.
By region, the largest drain on Jewish population was throughout Eastern Europe – with 4.7 million Jews in 1939, just 859,000 in 1945, and a mere 70,000 in 2010.
Pew noted that the factors behind the decline were not limited to anti-Semitism – although Europe did see a 436% rise in anti-Semitic incidents in 2014. A decrease can also be linked to immigration to Israel, assimilation, and intermarriage, Pew said.
The numbers noted in the survey are likely to have further decreased over the last four years, with rising anti-Semitism triggering record aliyah, in particular from France.