The balance of migration to Jerusalem is one of the most prominent subjects of public discourse and of decision-makers regarding Jerusalem and Israel. This is so because the balance of migration is one of the major issues that can be influenced by directed policy; it is based on the understanding that a positive balance of Jewish migration is a means for strengthening the city and for preserving its Jewish majority. In comparison to migration, the ability to wield influence over natural growth is limited and yields results only in the long term.
Data on the migration balance of the Jewish population of Jerusalem since 1967 can be divided into four primary periods:
• In the first period, between 1968 and 1972, there was a low but positive balance of migration of an average of approximately 800 new residents per year;
• In the second period, between 1973 and 1978, there was a relatively high, positive migration balance of 1,000-2,000 new residents per year, who came as a result of the momentum created by the construction of new neighborhoods. However, towards the end of the period there was a decline in the rate of migration;
• In the third period, between 1979 and 1987, there was a negative annual migration of approximately -600 residents.
• In the fourth period, between 1988 and 2007, there was a significant rise in the negative migration levels. In 1988 the balance was -1,100; it rose to -5,600 in 1992, to -7,600 in 1997 and reached a height of -8,200 in the year 2000. In subsequent years the negative migration decreased somewhat and stood at -5,800 in 2005 and -6,400 in 2007.
In terms of the direction of migration, it has become clear that over time the percentage of those leaving Jerusalem but remaining in the nearby metropolitan area – while continuing to maintain ties of employment, study, entertainment, etc., to the city -- has grown. In recent years 50% of those leaving the city proper have moved out to the surrounding metropolitan area.
Source: Relevant years of the Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem, published by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies and the Jerusalem Municipality.