Jerusalem losing 6,000 Jews a year

Main reasons are job opportunities, more affordable housing outside city.

Thousands of young Israelis continue to leave Jerusalem each year in search of better job opportunities and more affordable housing, official statistics released Monday by the Central Bureau of Statistics showed. 17,300 Israelis left Jerusalem last year, compared to 10,900 who came to the city, in a continuation of a nearly three-decade old trend which has seen hundreds of thousands of Israelis leaving the capital over the last quarter century. Nearly half of the Israelis who left Jerusalem last year were young people, aged 20-34, according to the official state statistics which were released ahead of Jerusalem Day which gets underway Tuesday evening. The primary reasons cited by people who have left the city in years past are better job opportunities and more affordable housing available outside the city. Most of the people who left the city moved to suburban Jerusalem communities or nearby cities, including 1,450 who moved to the West Bank settlement of Ma'ale Adumim, 1,411 who moved to Beit Shemesh, 1,019 who moved to Modi'in and Maccabim and 990 who moved to Modi'in Ilit, the statistics showed. An additional 1,664 former Jerusalem residents moved to Tel Aviv last year. The figures for immigration and emigration from the city last year are reflective of a continuing trend over the last several years were the number of Israelis leaving the capital each year is on average 6,000 more than those coming to the city. The number of people moving to the city last year included nearly 2,500 new immigrants, who make up just 13 percent of the immigrants to Israel in 2006. The new immigrants who did choose to make Jerusalem their home last year included 794 Americans, 571 French, 349 from the former Soviet Union, and 211 English, according to the statistics. The statistics reflect a growing trend of native English and French speakers to choose to live in the city, and a decrease in the number of Russian speakers who select Jerusalem as their new home, the statistics found. Jerusalem remains Israel's largest city. with nearly 740,000 residents, including nearly two-thirds or 470,000 Jewish residents, and one-third or 240,000 Arab residents. The city also has nearly 15,000 Christian residents and about 9,000 people who are not identified by religion. A separate survey released last week showed that the percentage of Arab growth in Jerusalem over the last decade was more than double that of the Jewish rate. The statistics also showed that a whopping 35 percent of city residents are children up to the age of 14, while only 8% of city residents are over the age of 65. The figures also revealed that nearly 77 percent of Jerusalem residents owned a TV, much lower than the 91.5% average of the country's five biggest cities, while just over a third of the residents of the capital had Internet in their homes, compared to nearly half of households in the five biggest cities nationwide, statistics attributed to the large haredi and Arab population in the city. At the same time, a whopping 87 percent of city residents over the age of 20 said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their life.