Jerusalem negative migration slowing for first time in a decade – report

Think tank finds capital’s population reached 901,300 in 2018, percentage of secular Jews hit a peak of 22%

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative. Downtown Jerusalem on February 14, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Illustrative. Downtown Jerusalem on February 14, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

For the first time in a decade, the negative migration figures for the capital have slowed down, according to a report presented to Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion on Wednesday.

The report also showed record figures for employment among the ultra-Orthodox community, as well as gains in the tourism and high-tech industries.

The Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research Statistical Yearbook for 2019 found 6,000 more residents left the city than moved in during 2018, compared to an average difference of 8,000 over the past ten years.

“The data presented here is very impressive,” Lion said in a statement. “The high-tech industry is soaring, and the growth rate is one of the highest in the country.”

Lion spotlighted that the report showed 49 percent of ultra-Orthodox men in the capital have joined the workforce, an all-time high for a community that prioritizes the study of religious texts as a vocation for men, usually in Talmudic colleges.

“The figures that indicate that every second ultra-Orthodox man is working showcase the reality and contradict the existing stigmas in Israeli society,” Lion said. “This is only the tip of the iceberg, and I will be continue to lead Jerusalem to its highest heights.”

Jerusalem mayor Moshe Lion speaks during a press conference for the 2019 Jerusalem marathon in Jerusalem on February 12, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Another improvement was in the tourism industry, where there were 4,937,600 overnight tourist stays in hotels during 2018, an all-time high. In 2016, there were 3,545,000 overnight stays, according to JIPR figures.

The report found that the population of Jerusalem hit 901,300 in 2018, while the percentage of secular Jews in the capital, which has large religious and Arab populations, reached a peak of 22%.

The number of businesses in the high-tech industry increased by 33.8% during the past year, the highest figure in the country, the municipal statement said, citing the report, and noted that by comparison in Tel Aviv the growth was 27.1%.

“The rate of business survival in the high-tech industry in Jerusalem is higher than in Israel as a whole, 62% compared with 50% nationwide,” the municipality noted.

The left-wing group Ir Amim faulted the report and the municipality for apparently failing to include the 300,000-odd Arab residents of the city other than in counting the overall population.

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