Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Contemporary Jerusalem

Yair Assaf-Shapira

Last week we celebrated "Jerusalem Day", also known as the day that the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies publishes The Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem - an annual comprehensive data collection, covering many aspects of the city. Over the past year, institute researchers presented part of the data published in the Yearbook in this blog, with a focus on specific topics. It seems that now is a good time to go "back to basics" and look at the population figures of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is by far the largest city in Israel. Its residents numbered 815,300 at the end of the year 2012 (Official data is always delayed, and we can assume that the population has since grown by approximately 20,000 people, but to avoid basing our knowledge on assumptions, we use the official data). The residents of the following largest cities, Tel Aviv and Haifa, numbered 414,600 and 272,200 respectively. It can be seen that Jerusalem is almost twice the size of Tel Aviv, and three times the size of Haifa. This is not uncommon, and for example the largest city in the US, being New York City, at approx. 8.4 Million residents, is also about twice the size of the second city, Los Angeles, at 3.9 Million.

The growth rate of Jerusalem's population from 2011 to 2012 was 1.5%. This figure is lower than the growth of the entire population in Israel, which stood at 1.9%. The growth rate of the Jewish (and other non Arab) population in the city was 0.9%, measuring lowest in the past decade and lower than the growth rate of the Arab population which, at 2.6% was the lowest rate since the 1990s. A trend of decline can be observed in the growth rate of the Arab population in Jerusalem, stemming from the decline in the average number of children born to a woman during her lifetime (total fertility rate - TFR) in this population. The TFR of the Jewish population in Jerusalem grew from 3.88 in 2006 to 4.25 in 2012, while the TFR of the Arab population in the city dropped during that period, from 4.00 to 3.55.

Data source: Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem; U.S. Census Bureau