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JIIS Bulletin - June 2011
Looking at Jerusalem – through numbers

A conversation about Jerusalem with Dr. Maya Choshen is never quite what you might expect. While many people – especially in this intricate and intriguing city – will discuss it from the heart and others will tell you a story or cite from a book, Choshen will make her point with the very latest facts and figures – lots of them. After all, she is the one who dots the Is and crosses the Ts on the Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem, and has been doing so for over 20 years. She combines this with her work in research and teaching on population, society and community, and their connection to all fields of life in Jerusalem, the surrounding region, and Israel as a whole.

This year marks the 25th edition of the Yearbook, so most of them have appeared under the tutelage of Choshen and her team. The JIIS annual publication, a collaborative venture with the Jerusalem Municipality, has grown to be recognized as the most comprehensive, reliable and continuously updated data base on Jerusalem's ever-changing facts, figures and trends. These days , in addition to a printed version, the Yearbook appears on the Institute's web site, in Hebrew and English, making it more readily accessible than ever.

"The information found in the Yearbook is intended as a basis for policy making, forecasts and even for defining measures for success. It provides an up-to-date picture of the state of the city and key trends," Choshen says. It is also widely used by legislators, researchers, students and anyone interested in Jerusalem's vital statistics. 

"People have their perceptions about Jerusalem; the Yearbook presents a quantitative description – and what is interesting to me is that often the numbers paint quite a different picture to the perception." 

Most of the raw data for the Yearbook come from the Central Bureau of Statistics, the Jerusalem Municipality, government ministries and other authorities. Choshen's team – Eitan Bluer, Yair Assaf-Shapira and Inbal Doron – spend months processing the data into figures, maps and tables. Choshen is insistent, however, that no analysis is made, no bias added, so that anyone wanting to use the information has the most pristine information possible. "Jerusalem is so loaded in so many respects. We want anyone using the Yearbook to feel that this is a thoroughly trustworthy and dependable resource." 

A companion publication to the Statistical Yearbook is Facts and Trends, another annual JIIS project written by Choshen and JIIS researcher Michal Korach. Facts and Trends lends an additional dimension to the Yearbook. "In this case, it does offer something of a concise textual analysis of some of the subjects that appear in the Yearbook, either because of the changes they reflect or their significance to Jerusalem life. But here too we do not offer interpretations."  
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