Over half of capital’s kids live in poverty, report finds

The fertility rate for women in Jerusalem is the same for both Jews and Arabs, with the exception of haredi women, who have an average of 7.7 children.

October 18, 2010 02:46
2 minute read.
Haredi children.

Haredi children studying 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

More than half the children in the Jerusalem district live below the poverty line, according to an extensive report on the capital’s population released Sunday by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies.

Jerusalem’s poverty rate is much higher than other Israeli cities. In Tel Aviv, 23 percent of children and 14% of families live below the poverty line, and 20% of families and 34% of children in Israel as a whole live in poverty, the report found.

Sunday was the UN’s International Day to Eradicate Poverty, making the dire statistics about Jerusalem even more poignant.

The authors of the Jerusalem study pointed to the large haredi and Arab populations in the city as the main reasons for the high level of poverty.

Jerusalem has the highest fertility rate of any city in the country, according to the report, with an average of 4.0 children per woman. In Israel as a whole, the rate is 3.0, and in Tel Aviv and Haifa, the rates are 2.1 and 2.0, respectively. The fertility rate for women in Jerusalem is the same for both Jews and Arabs, with the exception of haredi women, who have an average of 7.7 children.

The capital is also Israel’s largest city, with a population of 763,000, and represents 10% of the country’s population. Jerusalem accounts for 8% of the country’s Jewish population, and 18% of its Arab population (not including the West Bank or Gaza). Today, the Arab population constitutes 35% of Jerusalem’s population, much higher than its representation in Israel as a whole (20%) or Tel Aviv (4%).

The report also explored the impact of new immigrants on Jerusalem’s population.

Despite a sharp decrease in immigrants to Israel (33,600 in 2002 to 13,700 in 2008), the number of immigrants who chose to come to Jerusalem decreased only slightly (2,500 in 2002 to 2,100 in 2008). Fifteen percent of immigrants to Israel chose to make their first home in Jerusalem, making up 9% of the city’s population.

The report, “Jerusalem: Facts and Trends 2009/2010,” also found that Jerusalem had a fairly young population. In 2008, the most recent year from which data is available, the median age of the city’s residents was 23, compared to 34 in Tel Aviv and 38 in Haifa.

The city has suffered from a negative immigration rate in recent years. Between 2001 and 2008, Jerusalem’s population shrank by nearly 50,000 as young people moved away from the city. However, half of those moving away from Jerusalem stayed close by, with 31% moving to settlements in the West Bank and 19% moving to Jerusalem suburbs. Tel Aviv was the next most popular destination, with 34% of people leaving Jerusalem for the big city.

The Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies was founded in 1978 as a project of thenmayor Teddy Kollek.

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