The majority of new imigrants chose not to live in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, according to a new study conducted by the Union of Local Authorities and to be presented Tuesday at the second annual government-run Conference on Immigration and Absorption. More than 80 percent of some 300 new immigrants who were questioned for the survey said they preferred not to live in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. Only 18% had chosen to make those cities, the two largest in the country, their new home. The study, which focused mainly on Russian-speaking immigrants, aimed to determine the main criteria that influence the choices made by new immigrants on where they want to live. Some 21% said they had opted to live in the South in such cities as Beersheba, Ashdod and Ashkelon and 37% had headed to the North. Perhaps the most interesting information garnered from the survey was the reasons why the new immigrants had chosen such places to settle. Contrary to popular belief that most people would prioritize their children's education or employment opportunities, the survey showed that more than half made their decision based on where their family and close friends were living. Fifty-six percent of those questioned said that family and friends was the main deciding factor, whereas only 17% cited education and 9% said employment was important.