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A recent report by the institute showed that there are now 14.2 million Jews in the world.

According to the Jewish People Policy Institute, an Israeli think tank, the number of Jews in the world may have reached pre-Holocaust figures.

A recent report by the institute showed that there are now 14.2 million Jews in the world. The number is closer to 16.5 million if people who identify themselves as partially Jewish and those with one Jewish parent are included, the digital media website Mashable reports. There were as many Jews in the world when World War II started in 1939.

Much of the population rise is due to a change in who identifies as Jewish, the annual study analyzed. Avinoam Bar-Yosef, president of the Jewish People Policy Institute, said that more people are identifying themselves as Jews as it is more “respectable” in the United States nowadays. An educational Israeli exchange program for young Jews, the Taglit-Birthright Israel, was also mentioned as a contributing factor.

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Israel has the largest population of Jews. Approximately 6.1 million Jews live in Israel, and the fertility rate in the country is among the highest in the developed world. Some 5.7 million Jews live in the United States making up an estimated 1.9 percent of the nation’s population. According to long-term prognoses the number of Jews in the United States will decrease, but for the moment the figures are heading in the opposite direction.

The Holocaust killed some six million Jews.  At that time, the size of the Jewish population decreased to less than ten million people worldwide.

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