This week we celebrated Jerusalem Day. On the occasion, the Jerusalem Institute published “Facts and Trends”, and the statistical yearbook, from which many of the data appearing in Just the Facts are taken.
At the end of 2020, Jerusalem had a population of 952,000 (provisional data), and was the largest city in Israel by a large margin. Tel Aviv, the second largest city, has a population of 466,000. In 2020, the city of Jerusalem grew by 1.7%, similar to the rate in the cities of Bene Beraq, Ashkelon, Rehovot, Herzliya, Hadera, and Modi’in-Maccabim-Re’ut. The population of Israel as a whole also grew at the same rate (1.7%) this year. Most major cities in Israel (except Ramat Gan and Bnei Brak) are growing at a lower rate.
Jerusalem’s main population groups, Jews and Arabs, are both growing in number, and while the growth rate is not the same, the balance between them in 2019 (the latest for which the figure exists) remained approximately as it was in 2016-18, and stood at 62% Jews (and religion unclassified), and 38% Arabs. Among the Jewish population aged 20+, the two main groups, the ultra-Orthodox population and the “general” population, are also both growing.
Although all the groups are growing, when we drill down to the neighborhood level, we find than some of them are at a demographic standstill, or even shrinking. These include neighborhoods populated by all sectors and groups. A few of them are Ramat Shlomo (-1.2% in 2019); Har Nof (-1.8%); The German Colony and Old Katamon (-0.9%); Kiryat Ha-Yovel (-0.1%); and Ras Al-Amud (-1.2%).
For some of the neighborhoods the explanation may be that the children of the first residents are leaving the nest, for others it may be that families are leaving and replaced by single or dual person households (e.g. students). Either way, neighborhoods have a lifecycle, and demographic decrease is usually followed by renewal.