Thursday, May 30, 2013

Socio-Economic Status

Yair Assaf-Shapira

Recently, the central bureau of statistics released data about the socio-economic characterization of localities and neighborhoods. The socio-economic index is a complex indicator, made of 16 different variables, covering the subjects of demography; education; employment; and standard of living. These 16 variables were combined into a single index, and all localities in Israel were classified into one of ten clusters, 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest socio-economic status. Areas within localities, which are referred to as "statistical areas", and are actually neighborhoods or parts of neighborhoods, are naturally much more diverse, and were therefore classified into 20 clusters. The data was processed from the population census of 2008

Jerusalem was classified in cluster 4 (out of 10) - lower than the other large cities (200,000 residents and over), namely Tel-Aviv (classified in cluster 8), Haifa (7), Rishon Lezion and Petach Tiquva (6), and Ashdod (5). One of the factors causing the lower classification for Jerusalem is the large Arab and ultra orthodox Jewish populations residing in it, largely characterized by lower socio-economic status. 

But since clusters have been calculated not only for whole cities, but also for areas within them, we can look at the distribution of the population within the city. The figures look quite cheerless for Jerusalem, with 51% of the population residing in low socio-economic areas (clusters 1-5 out of 20). The figure is much higher than for Israel, where it stands at 23%, Haifa (2%), and Tel Aviv (at 1%). The high status population (clusters 16-20) comprises about 4% of Jerusalem's population, considerably lower than Israel (9%), and much lower than Haifa (28%) and Tel Aviv (37%), which seem to attract high status population. Rishon Lezion and Ashdod stand lower than Jerusalem, at 0%.

The complete data is published in The Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem, at

Data source: Characterization and Classification of Geographical Units by the Socio-Economic Level of the Population 2008, Central Bureau of Statistics, April 2013

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