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Jerusalem Day: Capital is young, diverse, growing

CM 04/05/2021

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With nearly a million residents, Jerusalem has the largest, youngest and most diverse population in Israel as it prepares to mark Jerusalem Day starting on Sunday night, marking 54 years since the unification of Jerusalem in the Six Day War.

The capital’s population stood at 952,000 at the end of 2020, about 1.8% higher than a year earlier, according to the Jerusalem Statistical Abstract prepared by the Jerusalem Institute. Some 62% of Jerusalem’s population identifies as Jewish or another minority, while 38% identifies as Arab, the report said.
During the course of the pandemic, Jerusalem reported 130,848 cases of COVID-19 through early May, with 81% of all people eligible to be vaccinated having done so.
The capital has the largest and most diverse education system in Israel, with 293,600 students, the report said. The median age of Jerusalem residents is 24, compared with 30 nationwide and 36 and 38 in Tel Aviv and Haifa, respectively. Nine percent of Jerusalem residents are over the age of 65, compared with a national average of 12%.
Hebrew University of Jerusalem is the top-ranked academic program in Israel, with 20,900 students, of whom 57% are women and 13% are Arabs, the report said. Tel Aviv University is the only university with more students.
Jerusalem’s economy is the second-largest in Israel, with 344,300 employees, or 9% of the national total. Tel Aviv employs 11% of all workers.
Notable in the data is the steady upward trend of employees in the hi-tech sector over the past six years. The most popular field is education, which employs 18% of Jerusalemites, compared with 12% nationally and 7% in Tel Aviv. It is followed by 14% in health and welfare, 12% in municipal and communal positions and 10% in commerce. Jerusalem’s hi-tech sector employs 6.2% of the city’s workers.

Salaries in Jerusalem are on the low side. At the end of 2018, the average wage was NIS 8,800, compared with NIS 10,800 nationwide and NIS 13,600 in Tel Aviv. However, the wage gap between men and women was lower than average, with women earning 79% of men’s average wages, compared with 66% nationwide and 64% in Tel Aviv.
About 30% of Jerusalemites travel to work via public transportation, compared with a national average of 18%. Sixty-six percent of residents above age 20 have a car, compared with 69% in Tel Aviv and 77% nationwide.
In socioeconomic terms, Jerusalem effectively comprises three different clusters, the report found.
Regular Jewish neighborhoods received a rank of six out of 10, similar to communities in Ma’aleh Adumim, Gush Etzion, Netanya and Hadera, while those in haredi (ultra-Orthodox) and Arab neighborhoods received a one, comparable to Modi’in Illit, Beitar Illit, Rahat and Kuseifa. The neighborhoods of Rehavia/Katamon, Beit Hakerem, Malha, Givat Masua and Motza ranked the highest.
Housing is expensive in the Holy City. The average price of a four- to 3.5-room apartment in Jerusalem was NIS 2.26 million in 2020, a 15% increase from five years earlier. While similar apartments in Tel Aviv were significantly more (NIS 3.47m. on average), the national average price for an apartment of that size was NIS 1.56m.
Jerusalem has had an average of 2,720 new housing starts each year since 2016, with 70% of them in west Jerusalem and 30% in east Jerusalem. Nahlaot and Kiryat Menachem are the neighborhoods with the most new projects in west Jerusalem, while Kafr Akab and Beit Hanina have the most new construction in east Jerusalem.
Some 86% of Jerusalemites are connected to the Internet, compared with the national average of 95%. Fifty-three percent of the survey’s respondents who identified as haredi said they have Internet in their homes, the report said.
“The city of Jerusalem continues to develop in a variety of areas in light of the unprecedented investment in the city,” said Mayor Moshe Lion following the report’s publication. “We continue to promote housing, quality employment, education and overall quality of life in the city, moving toward the high levels the city deserves.”
“This report contains important information that deals with all levels of Jerusalem, in all its neighborhoods – east and west, new and old, religious and secular, Jewish and Arab,” President Reuven Rivlin said. “The future of Jerusalem is the future of the State of Israel.
“Jerusalem is a microcosm of our existence. Despite all the complexities, the solution lies in Jerusalem, and it is precisely here, in a city composed of all the demographic wealth of the State of Israel, that a way must be found to create a dialogue, to connect, to cooperate.”
Lior Shilat, director of the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Studies, said: “The year of coronavirus and the events of the recent period indicate how multifaceted and diverse the capital of Israel is – very heterogeneous nationally, religiously and socially, and in particular, the extent to which the processes and events in Jerusalem have political significance and influence on nationwide processes.
“In many ways, processes and trends in the city precede what will happen in the entire State of Israel in a few decades. In this sense, Jerusalem is the ‘national laboratory’ of the State of Israel.”

Source: Jerusalem Post

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