What can we learn from the most recent Socioeconomic Index?

The variables compromising the Socioeconomic Index provide a unique perspective on the populations of the different areas and on the differences between them.

Palestinians pray in front of the Dome of the Rock on Laylat al-Qadr during the holy month of Ramadan, at the compound that houses Al-Aqsa Mosque, known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City, May 8, 2021. (photo credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)
Palestinians pray in front of the Dome of the Rock on Laylat al-Qadr during the holy month of Ramadan, at the compound that houses Al-Aqsa Mosque, known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City, May 8, 2021.
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)

Every two years Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics publishes the Socioeconomic Index. This index, known mainly for its socioeconomic clusters regarding different municipalities, comprises 14 variables pertaining to demographics; schooling and education; employment and stipends; and standard of living. The index expresses the state of the population in every municipality and local council as well as in every area within those municipalities, divided according to statistical areas.

The variables compromising the Socioeconomic Index provide a unique perspective on the populations of the different areas and on the differences between them. In this column we focus on an area about which there is generally a lack of information – the Arab neighborhoods in east Jerusalem.

We have ranked the 19 neighborhoods (or statistical areas) in accordance with the Socioeconomic Index, and contrasted them with the ranking of their components. The following are several prominent examples of cases where we found discrepancies.

Regarding the demographic variables (median age, dependency ratio, and percentage of families with four or more children), there was a surprising finding in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The median age there is higher than expected, considering the index, the dependency ratio is low, and so is the percentage of large families. Another surprise was found in the Armenian Quarter, where the percentage of large families is high, relative to the high socioeconomic index in the area.

In the employment sphere we found a relatively high percentage of wage and income earners (in the primary age groups for employment) in Isawiyya, Jabal Mukabar, Um Tubba, Sur Bahar, and a relatively lower percentage than anticipated in Wadi Al-Joz-Sheikh Jarrah (which are categorized as the same statistical area), and in Beit Hanina. Furthermore, the percentage of women who are wage and income earners in Beit Hanina was lower than expected. 

 Socio-economic index (credit: JERUSALEM INSTITUTE FOR POLICY RESEARCH) Socio-economic index (credit: JERUSALEM INSTITUTE FOR POLICY RESEARCH)

It is important to note that the percentage is higher than in some of the other neighborhoods, but is lower than anticipated when considering the socioeconomic character of the neighborhood.

Translated by Gilah Kahn-Hoffmann.