RAMALLAH, West Bank - The number of Palestinians around the world reached 8.7 million in 2003, including 3.7 million in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to official figures published Wednesday.
The total figure rises to 9.7 million with the inclusion of Israelis of Arab origin, the survey by the Palestinian Authority's bureau of statistics found.
Of the 3.7 million inhabitants of the Palestinian territories, 2.3 million live in the West Bank and 1.4 million in Gaza.
Around 2.8 million live in Jordan, 436,000 in Syria, 415,000 in Lebanon and 62,000 in Egypt. Some 595,000 live in other Arab countries.
The largest western-based chunk of the diaspora is now in the United States, home to some 236,000 Palestinians.
The survey found that 4.6 million Palestinians and Arab Israelis lived in the occupied territories and Israel by the end of 2002 against 5.1 million Jews.
Israeli and Palestinian demographic projections have consistently predicted that Jews will be in a minority in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel within little more than a decade.
The survey published Wednesday said that Jews would account for 6.4 million (44.4 percent) of the population by 2020, against 8.2 million Palestinians.