Figures on population size, characteristics, and trends are a primary tool in the evaluation of Jewish community needs and prospects at the local level and internationally. The estimates reported in this overview reflect a prolonged and ongoing effort to study scientifically the demography of contemporary world Jewry. The world's Jewish population was estimated at 13.034 million at the beginning of 2005. The figure reflects updated information on Jewish population that became available from national censuses and Jewish population surveys during the years 1999-2005. World Jewry continues to be close to zero population growth.