Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Is Haifa aging?

I just received the following comment from a colleague at the Technion:

Glad to read that you are optimistic about the future of Haifa. Less glad to see that you join the false common statement about the "continuous outflow of young people from Haifa".

First, as we all know, young people tend to move from place to place much more often than older ones. Hence, we find considerable turnover of young persons everywhere, especially in bigger cities.

Second, in my work for the Master Plan of Haifa, I made a special analysis of the migration balance of Haifa's 20-44 age group in four years: 1998-2001. I found that in each of the four years a large number of this age group left Haifa - 5,000 to 7,000 persons a year - but very similar number of persons from the same age group entered the city in each year.

A most serious disadvantage of Haifa is the bad reputation of the city in specific fields. As detailed above, and as your student - Lilach Berger Roth - found in a different field, much of the bad reputation is based on false rumors that people tend to spread around. Let's try to avoid it.

Naomi Carmon
Professor of Sociology and Urban Planning

Here is some additional information that may shed some light on Haifa demographics.

The municipality of Haifa is home to 268,000 residents, or nearly 103 thousand households. The population is heterogeneous. Jews comprise some 82 per cent of the population, some 4 per cent are Muslims and almost 14 per cent are Christians (both Arab and non-Arab). Immigrants from the former Soviet Union, having arrived since 1989, make up nearly a quarter of Haifa's residents.

The Haifa metropolitan area is home to 530,000 residents, or 175,000 households. The metro area includes the group of towns that surround the Haifa municipality and rural communities that increasingly serve as bedroom communities for people who work in Haifa and desire to live in suburban, single family housing.

Despite the influx of immigrants in the 1990s, the population of Haifa has been declining, especially since 2001. There are conflicting forecasts for Haifa’s population growth in the coming decade. The skeptical scenario suggests that the population of Haifa will continue to decline. The more optimistic approach, based on the performance of the hi-tech industry and encouraged by the Haifa municipality, is that the negative immigration trend will cease, or even reverse itself in the near future
Population growth in Haifa
Source: Central Bureau of Statistics, Statistical Abstract of Israel, no. 56, 2005

Despite the declining population, since 2001 the total number of households in Haifa has been constant and is expected to increase slightly due to the decreasing number of persons per household and to the improving quality of life in the city.

An associated demographic characteristic of Haifa is the relatively low percentage of children. The share of older people (age groups over 45) is high compared to both Tel Aviv and the rest of Israel. Haifa's population is ageing. Younger people seek education and better jobs in central part of Israel and families with kids migrate out to bedroom communities in the vicinity of Haifa.

The balance between the religious groups in Haifa is slowly shifting, as the Jewish residents are growing older and the younger ones leaving, while the number of Christians and Muslims is growing. Unlike elsewhere, the national and religious tensions between the main ethnic and religious population groups in Haifa (mainly between Jews and Arabs, and between Muslim Arabs and Christian Arabs) appear to be of a subdued nature. This situation is evident both at the municipal government level, as political frictions that appear on the national level, do not influence the daily management of the city, and in daily life. While there are distinctly Arab neighborhoods in Haifa, there is an increasing integration of populations, especially as well-to-do Arab families move into affluent, mostly Jewish neighborhoods.

On the issue of urban branding I posted a note some two weeks ago, on November 23rd.

1 comment:

Dr. Leonid Gavrilov, Ph.D. said...

Thank you for your interesting post!
I thought perhaps you may also find this related publication interesting to you:

Aging of Population