Last week we celebrated Jerusalem Day. Jerusalem is by far the largest city in Israel in terms of its population, which at the end of 2019 numbered 936,000. For many years (from as early as 1967), Jerusalem is home to about 10% of Israeli residents. This percentage remaining constant, means that the growth percentage of Jerusalem’s population is the same as that of the State of Israel as a whole. This percentage stood at 2% in 2018.
While the population growth rate in Jerusalem is the same as that of the Israeli population, the various populations within the city are growing at different rates. The growth rate of the Arab population (which stood at 2.0% in 2019) is higher than that of the Jewish population (1.7%). However, we see that over the last decade, the growth rate of Jews is on the rise, and it was 1% in 2009, while the growth rate of the Arab population is on the decline, and in 2009 it stood at 2.9%. If these trends continue, around 2023, the growth rates of both populations in the city may equal. If this happens, we will see the current balance between Jews and Arabs in the city’s population, which currently stands at 62% Jews and 38% Arabs, stabilize.
The main sources of population growth in Jerusalem are natural growth (births less deaths), which in 2019 added 21,400 persons, a negative migration balance, subtracting 8,400 persons, and an international migration balance (mostly Aliya), which added about 3,500 persons to the city’s population. Among the Arab population, almost all of the increase is due to natural growth.
It is interesting to see that the growth rate of the Jewish population in Jerusalem has been lower than that of the Jewish population in Israel for the past decade (except for one year), despite the large ultra-Orthodox population in the city, which is characterized by a high rate of natural increase.