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JIIS Bulletin - September 2013
Understanding Jerusalem's socioeconomic character

As the latest edition of Jerusalem: Facts and Trends goes to press, we take a look here at one aspect of its comprehensive analysis of Jerusalem – its socioeconomic features. 

The analysis was part of an ongoing project, commissioned by the Interior Ministry for the Central Bureau of Statistics and explained by JIIS in Facts and Trends. "In preparing the new socioeconomic index, the 252 local authorities (cities, local councils and regional councils) were divvied up into ten 'clusters' (the highest being 10)," explains Dr. Maya Choshen, who headed the JIIS research team. "Jerusalem is ranked in cluster 4, the lowest ranking among the large cities (with populations of over 200,000). Ashdod earned the cluster rank of 5, Petah Tikva and Rishon Lezion 6, Haifa 7 and Tel Aviv 8."

Interestingly, it emerges that of the 252 localities ranked in Israel, Jerusalem most closely resembles Sderot, Kiryat Gat, Tiberias and Mitzpeh Ramon – all ranked rather low, around the 100 mark (with 252 indicating the highest socioeconomic standing).  

Choshen and the team note that the index is not only anchored in earnings and expenses, but rather is composed of a number of factors: demographics, education, employment, retirement and standard of living. Jerusalem’s low ranking is attributed to some extent to the weight of two primary population groups in the city, which themselves have a low socioeconomic ranking – the ultra-orthodox, who represent approx. 23% of the city’s population, and the Arab sector (36%).

The socioeconomic index was also calculated for neighborhoods, or statistical areas (usually of up to 4,000 residents). "This enables, among other things, the classification of the city’s population according to socioeconomic standing," explains Choshen. The data show that about half of Jerusalem’s population belongs to the low socioeconomic group, 45% to the middle class and 4% to the high socioeconomic class, which is low in comparison to the rest of Israel (9%).  

The research team found wide socioeconomic disparities in the Jewish population between the general population (secular, traditional and religious) and the ultra-orthodox population. Nearly two thirds (62%) of the ultra-orthodox population belongs to the low socioeconomic group, compared to only 3% of the general Jewish population. The percentage of the population belonging to the lower-middle class is similar in the two groups at 32% and 30%, respectively. In regard to the upper-middle class, only a small number (6%) of ultra-orthodox Jews belong to this group, while over a half of the general population (57%) is classified as belonging to this group. No ultra-orthodox areas were classified as having a high socioeconomic profile, while about 10% of the general population was assigned this classification. 

Socioeconomic maps of Jerusalem's neighborhoods and a comparison of Jerusalem with other large cities in Israel can be viewed in the Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem

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