According to figures published on Wednesday by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies (JIIS), the city's Jewish sector is keeping up the pace with the Arab sector's population growth rates.
While the 2.7% growth rate among the Arab population in 2014 tallies a higher increase than the 2.2% rate found in the Jewish population, examining both populations' growth over time actually reflects a more substantial increase among the city's Jewish sector.
According to the data, the overall growth of the Arab population began to decrease some time ago. Indeed, 20 years ago, the Arab growth rate was measured at 3.1% while the Jewish population’s growth rate saw an increase of just 1.7%. The increase found in 2014 can largely be attributed to the city's Haredi population.
Jerusalem's population is known for consisting of large numbers of families with many children. The statistics show that in 2014, the total fertility rate in Jerusalem stood at 3.9 children per woman. This figure represents a significantly larger fertility rate when compared to Tel Aviv and Haifa (2.2 and 2.3 respectively) and Israel as a whole (3.1).
The data calls into question the conventional belief that the Arab population in Jerusalem is rapidly increasing at a rate that would eventually outgrow that of the Jewish population.
The traditional working assumption of policy agendas has been based on a ratio of 60% Jews and 40% Arabs. However, contrary to this premise, the current data indicate that at the end of 2014, the total 849,00-strong population of Jerusalem, consisted of 533,900 Jews and other minorities besides Arabs (63%), as well as 315,900 Arabs (37%).
Yair Assaf-Shapira, a reseacher at the JIIS, said that “For years,the widespread assumption among researchers and policy formulators was that the rate of Arab growth in the city could lead by some estimates to an Arab-Jewish ratio of 50/50.” He added that “Today, it is clear that the reality is continuing to change and that the fertility rate of the Arab sector is on the decline in tandem with the growth of other sectors.”