Numbers game

Latest figures reveal that 2006 was one of Jerusalem's best ever years in tourism and real estate sales.

tourists jlem 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
tourists jlem 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Once a year, the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies releases the latest figures on various aspects of life in the capital. In the tourism field, the research team headed by Dr. Maya Choshen and Israel Kimhi revealed that the number of overnight stays in the capital in 2006 - both from abroad and from Israel - rose to 3,133,600, more than double the stays in 2001. Also on the upside, a survey of real estate development in the city found the number of buildings completed in 2005 (this was the only figure the institute released that was not for 2006) was 2,155, compared to 1,656 in 2004. On the downside, 2006 saw 17,300 people leave the city for other places in Israel, as compared to 10,900 people who moved to the capital from elsewhere in the country. Net migration was minus 6,300. More encouraging news showed that Jerusalem is increasingly attracting new immigrants: Whereas only 6% of olim chose to settle here in the 1990s, in 2006 that number grew to 13%, many of them from Western countries. Other demographic findings from the end of 2006 revealed that 733,300 people, or 10% of the national population, were residents of Jerusalem. In addition, the city's population grew by 1.9% in 2006, with a 1.2% growth rate for Jews and 3.1% for Arabs. As for a breakdown of the city's religious affiliations, the institute's scholars found that in 2006, 469,900 were Jewish, 239,800 Muslim, 12,400 Christian Arab, 2,600 non-Arab Christian and 8,500 unaffiliated. The institute also found that haredim comprise an estimated 20% of the city's population. The median age of Jerusalemites at the end of 2006 was 23, with 25 as the median age for Jews and 19 for Arabs, who comprised 34% of the city's population at the time. A look at Jerusalem's education system counted 223,000 students during the 2006/2007 school year. Of those, 147,000 studied in Hebrew schools,, of which 61,000 studied in secular and religious state schools (42%) and 85,900 in haredi institutions (58%). The institute found that 76,100 pupils studied in Arab schools in the same year, of which 55,100 studied in municipal schools (both official and recognized but unofficial) and 21,000 in private (secular, religious and Wakf) schools. But perhaps most important are the education system's enrollment figures. Although the number of students in the Jerusalem education system in the past five years has grown by 16%, with enrollment in state religious schools rising by 6% in 2006 and in haredi schools by 13%, enrollment in state schools in 2006 dropped 14%. Employment figures are more encouraging. According to the institute's findings, the 3.5% rate of unemployment in the city in 2006 was still among the lowest in the country. But on the other hand, the average salary in Jerusalem, even of those in the high-tech industry, was lower than residents of the center of the country. And while the number of haredim who have joined the work force has grown, the general rate of participation in the work force among men in the city in 2006 was 52%, as compared to 61% nationwide and 69% in Tel Aviv. Among women, the figure was 39%, as compared to 50% nationwide and 59% in Tel Aviv.