The Jewish community routinely touted as the largest Jewish community in the Middle East may have no more than 8,700 members, according to the latest official census (report in NRG Ma’ariv). Even allowing for undercounting, this is less than half the 20,000 figure usually quoted by the Islamic Republic. Most Iranian Jews are thought to have emigrated to the US. Outside Israel, the country in the region with the largest Jewish community would now be Turkey, with its 17,000 or so Jews. (With thanks: Meir)
“The Iranian authorities have published their results for the 2011 census, which shows that the country today has about 8,700 Jews, a number much lower than estimates of the size of the community in the Islamic Republic indicate.
The Department of Strategic Planning and Supervision at the presidential palace in Tehran presented on its website the full report on data gathered during the census conducted in the country last year.
Jews saying morning prayers in Iran
According to the census director 75.2 million people currently live in Iran, less than the figures given by the American Central Intelligence Agency. This placed the number of residents at about 78.86 million people as of July 2011. Only Egypt, with about 81 million inhabitants, has a larger population.
Of the total, 73.5 million residents are Iranian. The largest minority group is Afghan, with 1.5 million people, immediately followed by 51,500 Iraqis, Pakistanis (17,700) and Turks (16,000).
The census conducted six years ago put the number of Jews in Iran at 9,252 persons.