The Palestinian Authority's Central Bureau of Statistics announced on Tuesday that there are 12.1 million Palestinians in the world, 4.6 million of whom live in the West Bank and Gaza.
According to the bureau's figures, which are accurate as of the end of 2014, there are 2.8 million Palestinians in the West Bank and 1.8 million in Gaza. It also said that the number of Palestinians and Israeli Arabs who live "from the river to the sea" stands at 6.1 million, expected to grow to 7.1 million by 2020.
Some disagree with these figures. Three years ago, the Palestinian Liberation Organization claimed that the number of Palestinians in the world in 2011 was 11.2 million, out of which 4.2 million lived in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and another 1.37 million lived within the Green Line.
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics in Israel, the Israeli population at the end of 2014 was 8,296,000, including 6,218,000 Jews and 1,719,000 Arabs.
The statistics released by the PA on Tuesday said that 43 per cent of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are refugees. The majority of Palestinians who do not live in Israel, the West bank, and Gaza reside in 31 refugee camps set up by the United Nations in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan, said the report. A total of 5.49 million Palestinians are registered with UNRWA, the relief agency for Palestinian refugees.
The number of Palestinians living in Jerusalem is, according to the report, 415,000, and 62 per cent of these live in the eastern part of the city, beyond the Green Line.
The birth rate was 4.1 per woman between 2011 and 2013 – 3.7 births in the West Bank and 4.5 in Gaza. The unemployment rate is 26.9 per cent – 17.7 per cent in the West Bank versus 43.9 per cent in the Gaza Strip.
Households possessing a computer comprise 63.1 per cent of the population – 66.9 per cent in the West Bank and 50.9 per cent in Gaza. Meanwhile, 48.3 per cent of households have an internet connection – a significant increase from 2011, when only 30.4 per cent had one.
The figures were released ahead of Nakba Day, the day on which Palestinians commemorate the displacement that occurred during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, on May 15. The bureau's report stated that in 1948 "1.4 million Palestinians lived in 1,300 towns and villages in historical Palestine".
It further said that by the end of the 1948 war, "Israel conquered 774 towns and villages, and caused the deaths of 15,000 people". It added that 154,000 Arabs were remained in Israel after the war, and that nearly 1.5 million of their descendants live in Israel today.