‘Cohen’ Most Popular Israeli Surname

Birkas Kohanim at the Kosel on Chol Hamoed Pesach. (Yaakov Naumi/Flash90, File)

Cohen is the most popular surname in Israel, the Central Bureau of Statistics said in a study, just in time for Family Day, celebrated this year on February 5 in Israel. There are 2.06 million families in Israel, a significant growth over the 1.73 million that the country had 10 years ago. The average Israeli family has 3.73 members, the same as 10 years ago. About half the families in Israel have at least one member age 17 or under.

Of those children, 92 percent live in families with two parents – a very high percentage compared to other OECD countries, the CBS said. In 87 percent of single-parent families with children 17 or under, the mother was the breadwinner. Beit Shemesh had the largest number of families with the most children in cities of 100,000 people or more; 72 percent of families had children there, compared to an average of 48 percent nationwide. Be’er Sheva, with 8 percent, had the highest number of single-parent families, compared to 6 percent nationwide. The highest number of households without any children – 41 percent – was in Tel Aviv.

The average household spent NIS 16,267 per month on expenses of all kinds in 2017, the last year for which numbers were available. Families with children spent an average of NIS 19,337, compared to NIS 13,371 for households without children (both singles and couples).

Cohen was the most common surname among all families, followed by Levy, Mizrachi, Peretz, Bitton, Dahan, Avraham, Agabaria and Friedman. One out of every 50 Israelis Jews was a Cohen, while one out of 85 was a Levy. Among Muslims, the most common surname was Agabaria (spelled differently in Hebrew than it is among Jewish families); among Christians it was Houry; and for Druze, Halaby.

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