According to population statistics published by the Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2016, 874,200 people lived in Jerusalem, half that number in Tel Aviv (435,900) and one-third that number in Haifa (279,200 residents).
These are the numbers of permanent residents in these cities, but since they are major metropolitan areas, the number of people who spend the day in these cities rises every morning, when tens of thousands of people enter the city for employment, education and other activities. These metropolitan cities function as employment centers for people who live in nearby commuter towns.
According to the CBS Labor Force Survey, the city with the highest number of incoming daily commuters is Tel Aviv. Some 257,000 people commute to work in Tel Aviv every day and live elsewhere.
This number is larger than the number of people who live in Rishon LeZion, the fourth largest city in Israel. Some 80,200 people travel to work every morning to Haifa and 77,100 to Jerusalem. These numbers do not include students and other people who are traveling to the cities for errands and other activities.
The number of people who take advantage of municipal services during the day is therefore much larger than the number of people who stay in the city after nightfall, but in order to calculate the size of the daytime population, we must subtract from this figure the number of residents who leave the city to work elsewhere. According to calculations, it turns out that the size of Tel Aviv’s population during the day swells to 604,600, an increase of 39% over the number of permanent residents. The population of Haifa during the day rises to 321,100, an additional 15%, and of Jerusalem to 917,800, which is 5% higher than the number of permanent residents. In addition to Israel’s three largest cities that were already mentioned, an additional 6,900 people, or 3%, are added to the population of Petah Tikva every morning, whereas all the other large cities in Israel see a drop in their populations during the day.
Jerusalem is a unique case in this respect, since the city is made up of extremely large neighborhoods, each of which is the size of an average Israeli city. In a subsequent column, we will try to estimate the “daytime population” of Jerusalem’s employment centers, compared with the “commuter towns” within Jerusalem’s city limits.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.