Monday, July 22, 2013

Tu b'Av

Yael Israeli

This month we celebrate the 15th of Av (Tu b'Av), known in Israel today as "the holiday of love". This festival, mentioned already in the Mishna and Talmud, is traditionally the day when the women of Israel went seeking for a partner. Today in Israel it has become a Hebrew version of Valentine's day.

In 2010, 444,500 men and women aged 20 and up lived in Jerusalem. Most 20+ year old Jerusalemites (63%) are married, 23% are unmarried, and only 8% are divorced. The percentage of single men in the city stands at 27%, and is higher than the percentage of single women, at 20%. The widowed women's percentage, however, is much higher (9%) than that the number of widowed men (2%). 

Marital status changes with age. Between the ages of 20-24 there is a high percentage of singles (66%), and an acute difference between men and women. 78% of the men between these ages are single, compared to only 55% of the women. As age increases, the number of married people rises, and differences between men and women shrink. Between 30-34, only 24% of  men, and 20% of women are still single. Israel shows a picture close to that of Jerusalem, with 23% of 20+ year olds unmarried, 62% married, and 8% divorced. Among 20-24 year olds in Israel, there is a higher percentage (80%) of unmarried people.

In Tel Aviv, however, things are quite different. In 2010, 319,300 people aged 20+ lived in the city, comprising almost 80% of its population. 50% of these 20+ year olds were not married (37% single, 11% divorced, and 7% widowed). Among the age group of 20-24 the percentage of singles is very high: 92% (87% among women and 96% among men). Among 30-34 year olds the percentage of singles was also high, standing at 50%.

The average marriage age in Israel is rising from year to year. In 1970 the average marriage age of Jewish women was 21.8 while in 2010 it rose to 25.7. The average for men did not increase drastically throughout these years and went up from 25 to 27.8.

The average gap between a Jewish bride and groom was 2.1 years, in comparison to 5 years in all other religions.

So, what is better – being married or single or divorced? Are married people really more satisfied than others?

95% of married residents in Jerusalem noted they are satisfied with their lives compared with only 78% of the divorced and 89% of the singles. In contrast, in Tel-Aviv a similar percentage of married and single residents noted that they are satisfied with their lives, but married people are a slightly more satisfied (88% and 85% respectively). In Israel, It seems the situation is pretty much the same – the married ones are most satisfied, followed by the singles and lastly the divorced (91%, 88% and 73% respectively).

Global research has proven that marriage increases satisfaction in life, so go ahead, take advantage of this Tu b'Av and find yourself a partner, preferably in Jerusalem!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Buying apartments in Israel: who, where, and how much?

Yair Assaf-Shapira

Data released recently by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry for Construction and housing, show that in Israel, apartment purchases by foreign residents summed up to 2.8% of all apartment purchases during the period June 2012 to February 2013. Other populations purchasing apartments were "residence improvers", buying an apartment which is not their first, but selling their previous one (37%); first apartment buyers (36%); real estate investors (21%); and others (2%).

But in some localities, foreign residents' purchases proportion was much higher than the national average. The top destinations in Israel for foreign residents seeking apartment purchases were Tel-Aviv, where they were responsible for 7.6% of the purchases, Netanya (7.8%), and, much higher, Jerusalem (12.8%). Noticeable in Jerusalem's vicinity was Bet-Shemesh, where 6.1% of the purchases were made by foreign residents.

Data allows us to drill down and look at neighborhoods within the city. Neighborhoods in Jerusalem that saw extensive purchase activity for 2nd hand apartments were Rechavia (38% of the purchases), Sanhedria (26%) and Romema (23%). For 1st hand apartments it was Sanhedria (77%), Romama (56%), and Bayit Vagan (53%). 

It has been said that foreign residents purchases raise the prices, and indeed according to the data it appears that foreign residents do not usually buy cheap apartments. On average, they paid 1.99 million shekels for an apartment in Israel, compared to 1.35 paid by residence improvers, 1.11 by investors, and 1.02 by first apartment buyers - almost half the sum paid by foreign residents. The prices paid by foreign residents in Jerusalem were higher, and stood at an average of 2.44 million, second in Israel to Zikhron Ya'akov (2.49) and Tel-Aviv, where they paid 3.23 million per apartment. Other populations who purchased an apartment in Jerusalem also paid more than the national average, but not extremely higher.

Data sources:

· Ministry of Construction and Housing, Department of Information and Economic Analysis

· Ministry of Finance, State Revenue Division

The Hebrew U

Inbal Doron

The Hebrew University in Jerusalem is the third largest university in Israel today, after the universities of Tel Aviv and Bar-Ilan. In 2011 a total of 20,400 students were enrolled in the Hebrew University, which for several years has had the largest number of students in the country pursuing advanced degrees, including doctorates. In 2011, a total of 2,540 were pursuing doctoral degrees in Jerusalem, constituting 24% of the total for Israel. The number of students in higher education institutions in Israel rises each year, especially for advanced degrees. In the last decade (2001-2011) there has been an increase of 23% in the number of students pursuing a master’s degree, and 50% in the number studying towards a doctorate. 

At the same time, there has been a decline in recent years in the ratio of Hebrew University students to the total number of students in Israel. Two decades ago (1991), about a quarter of the total number of students in Israel were enrolled at the Hebrew University, compared to only 16% in 2011. The key explanation for this trend lies in the privatization of higher education in Israel that took place during the early 1990s and in the opening of a large number of academic colleges that compete with universities. Another explanation lies in the transformations that have occurred in the most sought-after fields today, as compared with past years.

Out of a total of 251,800 students in 2011, about half studied in universities and half in academic colleges and teacher-training colleges. Today a total of 35 academic colleges and 23 teacher-training colleges operate in Israel. Among other things, the colleges offer a wide range of degrees in areas such as design, music, or technology. In Jerusalem today there are seven academic colleges and five teacher-training colleges, at which in 2011 a total of 16,000 students were enrolled, constituting 44% of the total number of students in the city that year.

A review of students’ chosen fields over time in Israel reflects the change that has taken place in recent decades. In 2011, bachelor’s degree students in Israel’s universities pursued the following fields of study: social sciences (31%), engineering and architecture (20%) humanities (19%), natural sciences (15%), medicine (10%), law (4%), and agriculture (1%). The most significant decline was in the humanities. Until the late 1990s this had been the leading field of study, attracting about a third of bachelor’s degree students on average. The fields in which a significant increase occurred were medicine and healthcare, engineering, and architecture. The percentage of medical students today is double that of 1980, and in engineering and architecture one can see a steady increase in the number of students over the past decades. 

These changes in chosen fields of study, and primarily the decrease in interest in the humanities as well as the lack of an engineering faculty have been contributing factors in the decline in percentage of students at the Hebrew University out of the total number of students in Israel’s universities. The salient fields of study at the Hebrew University compared to others in Israel are medicine and healthcare. A total of 28% of the country’s bachelor’s degree medical and healthcare students are enrolled at the Hebrew University. These figures are 26% for law and 19% for the natural sciences.