Jerusalem Urban Development-Demographic and Social Characteristics

Jerusalem Urban Development-Demographic and Social Characteristics


  Jerusalem: Urban Characteristics and Major Trends in the City's Development


B. Jerusalem's Population: Demographic and Social Characteristics

Young people constitute a very high proportion of Jerusalem's population. This is due mainly to the Orthodox Jewish and the non-Jewish populations, both of which have a high percentage of large families. The large number of children has important implications with regard to the public services provided for infants, children, and teenagers: formal and informal education, health services, etc. Similarly, the high percentage of senior citizens (65+) is significant in terms of the distribution of services allotted to them.

B1. Population by Age

In 1995 about 44% of Jerusalem's total population was between the ages of 0-19, and of them, approximately 13% were between the ages 0-4. Senior citizens (65+) constituted 8% of the population. In the non-Jewish sector, 52% of the population was between the ages of 0-19 (16% between the ages of 0-4), and in the Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods over 50% of the population was between the ages of 0-19.

Table 2: Population of Jerusalem by Age Groups, 1995

Jewish Non Jewish
  Number % Number % Number %
Total 591,400 100.0 417,000 100.0 174,400 100.0
0-4 78,800 13.3 49,900 12.2 27,000 16.5
5-19 181,500 30.7 120,200 28.8 59,300 35.1
20-44 201,600 34.1 142,000 34.0 56,800 34.2
45-64 82,200 13.9 64,500 15.5 17,100 10.2
65+ 47,300 8.0 40,400 9.7 6,900 4.0
Source: Central Bureau of Statistics, Population File, 1995

An analysis of the dispersal of different age groups in the city indicates that:

  • There is a high concentration of young children (ages 0-4) in the Orthodox neighborhoods and in several non-Jewish neighborhoods: in these areas, the percentage of the population in this age group exceeds 20%, whereas the municipal average for this age group is 13.3%.

  • There is a high concentration of school-aged children (5-19) in the peripheral neighborhoods, both Jewish and non-Jewish, and in the Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods. In all these neighborhoods, the percentage of this age group exceeds the municipal average of 30.7%.

  • The elderly (65+) are most heavily concentrated in the center of the city, where they constitute as much as 20% of the total population (the municipal average is 8%). This percentage declines as one moves away from the city center and is lowest in the peripheral neighborhoods.

In contrast to previous years, the percentage of the 0-19 age group has remained stable in both the Jewish and the non-Jewish sectors. There has, however, been an increase in the percentage of elderly (65+) among the Jewish population of Jerusalem. Whereas this group constituted 8.5% of Jerusalem's Jewish population in the mid-1980s, it rose to 9.1% in 1991, 9.2% in 1992, 9.5% in 1993, 9.6% in 1994, and 9.7% in 1995. This can probably be attributed to the influx of new immigrants, a relatively high proportion of whom are senior citizens, and to negative balance migration, which took its toll on Jerusalem's younger population.

B2. Dependency Ratio

The dependency ratio indicates the number of individuals of working age in relation to the non-working age population, specifically children and the elderly. As the rate of dependent (non-working) population increases, so too does the economic burden on the working population. According to the National Insurance Institute (Survey No. 129: Insured Persons Receiving Benefits and Income According to Community, 1994), the dependency rate in Jerusalem is as high as 99.4:100. (In comparison, the national average is 87.7:100, in Tel Aviv it is 77.0:100, and in Haifa it is 88.7:100.) In other words, statistically, every person of working age in Jerusalem has dependents, either children or elderly; in fact, the main factor behind this high ratio is the very large number of children in Jerusalem. Should the percentage of children and/or elderly increase any further, so too would the dependency ratio, so that every person of working age will have more than one dependent. This will result in a drop in the level of income per person.

The ratio of children to people of working age in Jerusalem is 80.5:100. This is significantly higher than either the national ratio (66.6:100) or the ratio of Israel's two other leading cities, Tel Aviv (41.6:100) and Haifa (46.4:100). In contrast, the ratio of elderly Jerusalemites to the working-age population (18.9:100) is lower than the national ratio (21.1:100) or the ratio in Tel Aviv (35.4:100) and Hai fa (37.2:100). It can, therefore, be determined that the high dependency rate in Jerusalem is mainly an outcome of the large number of children among the Orthodox Jewish and the non-Jewish populations.

B3. Family Size

It has already been shown that Jerusalem has a particularly high percentage of large families. According to The Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem (1994), the average number of persons per household is 3.9, which can further be broken down to 3.5 among the Jewish population and 5.3 among the non-Jewish population. About 23% of all Jerusalem households have six persons or more, while 38% have only one or two persons. (In comparison, only 5.2% of all Tel-Aviv households have six persons or more, while 61% have only one or two persons.) Two studies of the ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods, conducted by the Division for Strategic Planning and Research (July 1992, July 1993) found that the average size of families in these neighborhoods reaches 7.0-7.3 persons per household.

B4. Students in the Educational System

Jerusalem's educational system must cater to the very large number of school-aged children (155,000) and provide for three distinct sectors of the population: Jewish (95,000) (this includes both the non-Orthodox and the Modern Orthodox population), ultra-Orthodox Jewish (60,000), and Arab (23,000). In comparison, Tel Aviv's educational system caters to some 57,000 students and Haifa's, to some 58,000 students.

Table 3: Breakdown of Students within Jerusalem's Educational System, 1995, 1996

Department Municipal Adm. of Education Ultra-Orthodox Education Department Total
  1995 1996 1995 1996 1995 1996
Kindergarten 9,457 9,878 13,621 15,109 23,096 24,987
Primary Education 32,317 32,657 28,752 32,114 61,069 64,771
Highschool 30,516 28,784 10,791 12,549 41,307 41,333
Arab Sector 20,825 23,398

20,825 23,398
Total 93,133 94,717 53,164 59,772 146,297 154,489
Source: Education Yearbook, 1995, 1996
The Municipal Administration of Education, The Municipality of Jerusalem.

B5. Level of Education

The high level of education characteristic of Jerusalem residents exceeds both the national average and that of either Tel Aviv of Haifa. Some 37% of the population above the age of 15 have had more than 13 years of education, and of these 20% have had more than 16 years. The highly educated workforce, which has been boosted by a highly educated immigrant population, exhibits enormous potential for developing local, scientific-based industries such as science-based industries, computer programming, communications, etc.

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