Exodus Population Statistics

Knowing the population statistics of the children of Israel who came out of Egypt is very important in understanding the massive Exodus. There were three census recorded in Scripture. The first census in Numbers 1 and the second census after the plague in Numbers 26. Finally, David did a census during his reign.

First Census

The first census is detailed in the first chapter of the book of Numbers.

Tribe Population of males (20 years and above)
Reuben 46500
Simeon 59300
Gad 45650
Judah 74600
Issachar 54400
Zebulun 57400
Ephraim 40500
Manasseh 32300
Benjamen 35400
Dan 62700
Asher 41500
Naphtali 53400
Levi ?
Total (Num 1:45-46) 603550

Num 1:49 “Only the tribe of Levi you shall not number, nor take a census of them among the children of Israel;

Num 3:39 All who were numbered of the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron numbered at the commandment of the LORD, by their families, all the males from a month old and above, were twenty-two thousand.

God clearly instructed Moses not to take a census among the children of Israel. However, He did ask later to take a census to redeem the first born of all Israelite people and all the males from the tribe of Levi from 1 month and above were 22000.

Num 3:43 And all the firstborn males, according to the number of names from a month old and above, of those who were numbered of them, were twenty-two thousand two hundred and seventy-three.

Num 4:46-48 All who were numbered of the Levites, whom Moses, Aaron, and the leaders of Israel numbered, by their families and by their fathers’ houses, from thirty years old and above, even to fifty years old, everyone who came to do the work of service and the work of bearing burdens in the tabernacle of meeting– those who were numbered were eight thousand five hundred and eighty.

Below is the tabulation of all males 1 month and above from the tribe of Levi which totals to 22000.

House of Levi Population of males (1 month and above)
Gershonites (Libnites and Shimeites) 7500
Kohathites (Amramites, Izharites, Hebronites and Uzzielites) 8600
Merarites (Mahlites and the Mushites) 6200
Total 22000

Below is the tabulation of all males 30 years to 50 years from the tribe of Levi which totals to 8580.

House of Levi Population of males (30 – 50 years)
Kohathites 2750
Gershonites 2630
Merarites 3200
Total 8580

We also find that the number of first born males in all Israel excluding Levi is 22273 and the number of males in Levi from 30 years to 50 years is 8580.

Tribe Population
Levi (all males 1 month and above) 22000
All Tribes excluding Levi (all first-born males) 22273
Levi (all males 30 years to 50 years) 8580

The above mentioned are all the details we know about the first census of Israel.

Second Census

Num 26:64-65 Not one of them was among those counted by Moses and Aaron the priest when they counted the Israelites in the Desert of Sinai. For the LORD had told those Israelites they would surely die in the wilderness, and not one of them was left except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.

When the second census was counted 40 years later, it gives an amazing insight. Not one of them who were earlier counted in the first census were included in the second census except Caleb and Joshua.

Tribe Population of males (20 years and above)
Reuben 43730
Simeon 22200
Gad 40500
Judah 76500
Issachar 64300
Zebulun 60500
Ephraim 32500
Manasseh 52700
Benjamen 45600
Dan 64400
Asher 53400
Naphtali 45400
Levi ?
Total (Num 26:51) 601730

Num 26:62 Now those who were numbered of them were twenty-three thousand, every male from a month old and above; for they were not numbered among the other children of Israel, because there was no inheritance given to them among the children of Israel.

The total number males, one month and above from the tribe of Levi is 23000.

Third Census

A third census was done during the days of King David and his son Solomon.

2Sam 24:9 Then Joab gave the sum of the number of the people to the king. And there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.

1Chr 21:5-7 Then Joab gave the sum of the number of the people to David. All Israel had one million one hundred thousand men who drew the sword, and Judah had four hundred and seventy thousand men who drew the sword. But he did not count Levi and Benjamin among them, for the king’s word was abominable to Joab. And God was displeased with this thing; therefore He struck Israel.

2Chr 2:17 Then Solomon numbered all the aliens who were in the land of Israel, after the census in which David his father had numbered them; and there were found to be one hundred and fifty-three thousand six hundred.

The third census was a mess.

Tribe Population of males (20 years and above)
Judah 500000 (or 470000)
All Israel 800000 (or 1100000)
Strangers 153600
Total 1453600 (or 1570000)

Exod 30:12 “When you take the census of the children of Israel for their number, then every man shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD, when you number them, that there may be no plague among them when you number them.

Not only did David caused the wrath of God by not numbering Benjamin among the children of Israel but he also did not number Levi separately to give the ransom. There are also inconsistencies between the account in 2nd Samuel and 1st Chronicles but both roughly give the value of 1.5 million excluding the 2 tribes.

Inferences

We can infer several things from the above 2 census. Let us explore what we can find to get some statistics.

Average Life Expectancy: 60

The average life expectancy of all males who came out of Egypt (except the tribe of Levi) during Exodus is 60 years. This is because, any 20 year old male who came out of Egypt did not inherit promised land and died in the wilderness but the 19 year old inherited the land.

Sex Ratio: 1.0995

It is very difficult to find sex ratio, but the two census does shed some important light on the number of males and females.

Deut 7:3 “Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son.

Children of Israel intermarried between the tribes by giving their daughters as wives while the inheritance of land stays with the tribe. There are some exceptions, if there were no sons then the daughters must marry within the tribe and the inheritance stays with the tribe as described in Numbers 27.

The first census does not include males born 20 years prior to the beginning of Exodus. The second census includes males born from 20 years prior and 20 years after coming out of Egypt. Hence, if the number of males became less in the second census for a particular tribe, it means the number of males being born during the 40 year period (from 20 years prior and after they came out of Egypt) is less compared to those of the previous generation (born 20 years prior to Exodus). Israelites cannot intermarry and the overall sex ratio must be more or less equal to 1:1. Based on this information which is a valid assumption, the tribes with more males took wives from other tribes as we see in Judges 21, thus balancing the sex ratio. The below information does not take into consideration the males who died in war and plagues since the motive is to get a rough idea.

Tribe First Census – (Males above 20 years) Second – Census (Males above 20 years) Change Sex Ratio (per male)
Reuben 46500 43730 -2770 1.063343
Simeon 59300 22200 -37100 2.671171
Gad 45650 40500 -5150 1.12716
Judah 74600 76500 1900 0.975163
Issachar 54400 64300 9900 0.846034
Zebulun 57400 60500 3100 0.94876
Ephraim 40500 32500 -8000 1.246154
Manasseh 32300 52700 20400 0.612903
Benjamen 35400 45600 10200 0.776316
Dan 62700 64400 1700 0.973602
Asher 41500 53400 11900 0.777154
Naphtali 53400 45400 -8000 1.176211

Based on the above tabulation, the overall sex ratio is approximately, 1.0995 females for every male.

Total population: 2 million

Ignoring the Egyptians who came along, and assuming the sex ratio to be 1:1.0995, what is the approximate total population of Exodus?

There were 603550 men (20 years and above) in all tribes excluding the tribe of Levi. If sex ratio is 1:1.0995, then there must be approx 663603 females + 603550 males = 1267153 people who are 20 years and above. This excludes children who are less than 20 years.

40 years later, the census value reveals the value to be 601730. This new value which is 40 years later still excludes males who were less than 20 years. In other words,  601730 is the value of all males born 20 years prior to Exodus (since they were not part of the first census) till 20 years into Exodus (since census does not include males less than 20 years). The two census results were identical and there were no population growth. Hence, we can safely assume that the males less than 20 years old and not part of the first census is ‘roughly’ around 300865 (half of 601730 since we just need for 20 years). Adding females with a 1:1.0995 sex ratio gives, 300865 males + 330801 females = 631666 children. Thus the total population of all tribes including women and children but excluding the tribe of Levi is, 1267153  adults + 631666 children = 1898819 (excludes Levi)

All males in Levi from 1 month old and above were counted to be 22000. With sex ratio of 1:1.0995, this count is 22000 males + 24189 females = 46189. Adding this to the value 1898819 gives 1945008 people.

Hence, the total population of children of Israel who left Egypt is approx. 2 million. This is the minimum value since it excludes the Egyptians and their families who came out of Egypt with the children of Israel.