Friday, July 13, 2018

In the Material World

Omer Yaniv

Since Jerusalem is a relatively poor city in comparison to other large Israeli cities, one would anticipate that fewer households would possess durable goods, since the prices of some of them are quite high. Further, a considerable percentage of the city's residents are Haredim and Arabs, who either consider some of these products to be luxuries or for whom it isn't "religiously" acceptable to have them.  Thus we can understand why the rate of ownership in Jerusalem of certain durable goods is lower than it is in other cities. And yet, Jerusalem's character reveals surprising findings with respect to the ownership of several products.

For example, in 2016, the percentage of those who owned a deep freezer, which is useful for a large family, was 31% in Jerusalem as opposed to 25% in the rest of the country, and 9% in Tel Aviv. In addition, many of the Arab residents of the city, who prefer to receive their television broadcasts from neighboring countries and not from Israel, place Jerusalem in first place among all Israeli cities in terms of the number of households that have digital converters for their televisions (27%) and satellite dishes (29%), as opposed to 11% and 16% respectively in the rest of the country.
The rate of usage of durable goods for communications purposes in Jerusalem is low relative to the rate in the rest of the country and in other big cities: in 2016, only 56% of Jerusalem households had an Internet connection, as opposed to 75% in the rest of the country, 87% in Tel Aviv, and 85% in Haifa. Only 67% of Jerusalem households had a home computer, as opposed to 78% in the rest of the country, 86% in Tel Aviv, and 82% in Haifa.

Despite the scenario that emerges from the above, an examination of the changes in ownership of durable goods over the course of several years reveals a rising trend in the percentage of Jerusalem households that own these goods. As stated, in 2016, only 56% of Jerusalem households had an Internet connection. However, in 2002 the percentage was 20%. And the same goes for the numbers with respect to home computers, where the percentage rose from 51% in 2002, to 67% in 2016. There was also an increase in the usage of cellular phones among Jerusalem households between the years 2002-2016, when the numbers rose from 76% to 97%, although this increase is similar to the increase in the entire country.

 The decreasing trend to own televisions among Jerusalem households is also similar to the decrease in the rest of the country and in the other cities, where the acquisition of new communications devices makes television use redundant, and we see a decrease in the same period in the number of Jerusalem households that own televisions, from 78% in 2002 to 67% in 2016.
Data sources: Central Bureau of Statistics, Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research

Translated by Gilah Kahn

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