Palestinians Now Make Up Some 40 Percent of Jerusalem's Population

Number of Palestinians in Jerusalem has increased since 1967, new study shows; Palestinians decreasingly poor, but still have higher poverty rate than Jews

Palestinians play soccer in Jerusalem's Sacher Park
Emil Salman

The number of Palestinians in Jerusalem continues to rise slowly but surely, and now constitutes 38 percent of the city's population, according to a new report.

According to various other estimates, however, Palestinians make up as much as 40 percent of Jerusalem’s population, because the figures do not include thousands of Palestinians living beyond the security barrier in East Jerusalem and therefore not counted as residents of the capital.

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The number of Palestinians in Jerusalem has increased by 25 percent since 1967, said the study, published to mark Jerusalem Day by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies.

Most of the Palestinians living in Jerusalem (95 percent) are not Israeli citizens and are not eligible to vote in Knesset elections. Over the past year, 943 Palestinians have applied for Israeli citizenship. Only 153 received citizenship and only 20 of these had applied in 2017. All the rest had applied since 2010.

More kids, poor city

The report is based on figures from the National Bureau of Statistics, also notes a rise in the ultra-Orthodox population to 34 percent of the Jewish population (and 21 percent of the total population).

As for two other Jewish groups in the city: secular Jews (traditional and non-religious) and religious Jews each constitute around 30 percent of the total.

Ultra-Orthodox elementary school children constitute 62 percent of all Jewish children. In the city’s elementary schools, 66 percent of the students are enrolled in the ultra-Orthodox system, as opposed to 34 percent in the state religious and secular schools together. However there has been a slow rise in the total number of students in state public schools as a whole.

The poverty rate in Jerusalem continues to be high – 46 percent compared to the national average. The gap in terms of poverty between Palestinians and other residents is particularly notable: 75 percent of Palestinians live below the poverty line, as opposed to 29 percent of the Jewish population. This is the third year in a row that has seen a slight drop in poverty levels in the Palestinian population, with a slight rise in poverty among Jews.