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About GNDBs, Names
DESCRIPTION: THE GIVEN NAMES DATA BASES
2. DESIGNING THE DATA BASES
2.4. EUROPEAN AND FOREIGN COUNTRY POPULATION DATA
A major factor in choosing Project Countries was the size of their Jewish population. In this section we present the population data used for both European and foreign countries.
The data in Table 1 shows a summary of the distribution of Jews throughout the world for the years 1800 to 1948.
Table 1. World Jewish Population (thousands)
Beginning in the eighteenth century, the proportion of Jews living in Europe grew steadily. By the end of the eighteenth century, there were 2.5 million Jews in the world, of whom a million lived in North Africa and the Middle East (including Turkey), while another 1.5 million lived in Europe. Of the European Jews, one million resided in Russia, Poland and Galicia, while the rest lived in Central and Western Europe.
In the nineteenth century, the European Jewish population had a constant growth in absolute numbers and percentages until 1880, when the percentage of Jews living in Europe reached its peak, then fell. There were then about 7,750,000 Jews in the world: 6,858,000 (88.5 percent) lived in Europe, 620,000 (8 percent) in Asia and Africa, and 250,000 in North and South America, and Australia. The absolute number of Jews in Europe continued to rise (particularly in Eastern Europe) even after 1880 (due to high birth rate and good health practices), yielding about 9.5 million Jews on that continent by 1938. However, they then constituted only 57 percent of world Jewry (16.6 million) because in the interim, new Jewish communities had grown up overseas, spurred by the 1880-1914 massive exodus from Europe.
Czar Alexander II's assassination in 1881 led to rumors that Jews were responsible, causing a wave of progroms and persecution. Simultaneously, the US acquired the reputation of being Die Goldene Medina (The Golden Land). A massive emigration began to other parts of Europe and to countries outside of Europe. This exodus continued until the beginning of World War I. All told, 2,400,000 Jews left Europe during the period 1881-1914. From 1914 to the beginning of World War II, another million Jews emigrated from Europe. As a result, five new major centers of Jewish population evolved: the United States (which received 85 percent of the emigrants), Canada, Argentina, Palestine, and South Africa.
For the GNDB Project countries, the population data in Table 2 cover European countries during 1800 to 1938, and include 1998 data for about 14,000,000 Jews worldwide. The countries are listed in decreasing population order for the year 1938.
Table 2. European Country Jewish Populations (thousands)
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, only a few thousand Jews lived in the US, in 1825 about 8,000, and by 1850, no more than 50,000. However, by 1900 (the end of the first massive exodus from Europe), about 1,000,000 Jews were in the US, and by 1939, 4.8 million.
Jewish population figures for Project Foreign Countries to which European Jews migrated are given in Table 3 for the years 1900 and 1998. The large population growth for Palestine/Israel from 1900 to 1998 is primarily due to immigration after World War II, although there was also a substantial immigration during the 1880-1914 period. Immigration rates are given for the periods of massive emigration from Europe, 1881-1900 and 1901-14. Eighty-five percent of all emigrant Jews from Europe immigrated to the United States during this period. Two-thirds of the emigrants left Europe in the second period 1901-14, just before the First World War.
World Jewish population in 1880: 7,750,000
Table 4 presents the origins of the 1,500,000 immigrants to the United States during the period 1899-1914.
Table 4. Origins of Immigrants to the US, 1899-1914
In their exit from Eastern Europe, some Jews migrated to Central and Western Europe, in some cases on a temporary basis, in some cases for long periods, and in other cases, permanently. During 1880-1900, Polish Jews migrated to Germany and France, as well as to the US, Palestine, Canada, and Argentina. During the 1881-1914 period of massive emigrations, 350,000 Russian and Romanian Jews migrated to Central and Western Europe, and Jews from Galicia and Bukovina migrated to Austro-Hungary and Odessa, Russia, on the Black Sea.
Accordingly, using the criteria outlined previously, the European and foreign countries chosen for this project were defined as follows:
EUROPEAN: Belarus, Denmark, France, Galicia, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Latvia/Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Prussia, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine
FOREIGN: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Palestine, Mexico, South Africa, UK, Uruguay, US