More than a quarter are 'wandering Jews'

By Jessica Elgot, March 9, 2012
Follow Jessica on Twitter
Jews have moved in huge numbers to Israel, which could signal the end of the "wandering Jew"

Jews have moved in huge numbers to Israel, which could signal the end of the "wandering Jew"

Jews have been wandering ever since Moses led his people out of Egypt – and more than a quarter of the world’s Jewish population are still moving, according to a new study of migration trends.

One in four Jews today has migrated to a different country, compared to just five per cent of Christians and four per cent of Muslims.

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, a Washington-based research centre , has found that no other religious group even comes close to matching how much Jews move from place to place, after studying more than 214 million migrants worldwide. On average, just three per cent of the world’s population moves to a new country.

Persecution in Europe, the Soviet Union and in Muslim countries has been the key reason Jews have not stayed put. But researchers believe the trend is coming to an end. In 2012, Jews overwhelmingly live in two countries, 43 per cent in Israel and 39 per cent in the US, where there is little risk of persecution. Jewish communities in the rest of the Middle East and north Africa are shrinking, which could mean wandering Jews are a thing of the past.

But although Jews have the highest rate of migration of any religion, they make up a very small percentage of the world’s total migrants, the study showed. Nearly half of all international migrants as Christians, though they make up a third of the world's population.

Last updated: 11:42am, March 9 2012