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31 facts for 41 years

by michael June 02 2008
Municipal newsNews


Jerusalem has been unified for 41 years. 41 years. That's twice 20.5. Half of 82. Almost 300 in dog years. Sixteen past 25, 9 shy of 50. A baby born in June 1967 is now old enough for a midlife crisis. In short, this is a momentous occasion in the 3,000 years of Jerusalem's history. And to commemorate this literally once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, an Israeli tourism site has published an article detailing Jerusalem in numbers. It's long, it's in Hebrew and some of it isn't terribly interesting, but Jerusalemite has cherry-picked the facts that tell you most about the current state of the city. In honor of 41 magical years, there are 31:

  • The current population of the city is 746,300 people: 66 percent Jewish, 34 percent Arab and 100 percent in agreement on the merits of hummus.
  • During the 40th year of its unification alone, the population of Jerusalem grew by 13,000 residents.
  • The population of Jerusalem is greater, in several ways, than the populations of Tel Aviv and Haifa combined.
  • The municipal area of Jerusalem is the largest in Israel at 126.4 square kilometers. Before 1967, during which some extremely ambitious and successful plan for municipal expansion was apparently implemented, the municipal area was 38.1 square kilometers.
  • The word "Jerusalem" appears 37,300,000 times in Google. "Tel Aviv" appears only 29,300,000 times. This makes Jerusalem, in a strictly scientific sense, 8,000,000 better than Tel Aviv.
  • The combined length of the roads in Jerusalem is 1021 kilometers. The combined length of sidewalks is 1388 kilometers. The combined length of the daily 5 PM traffic jam at the entrance to the city is 4378 kilometers.
  • The longest street in Jerusalem is the Begin expressway, which at 6 kilometers is still not long enough to hold, laid end-to-end, every devotional portrait of Menachem Begin found tacked to the walls of the city's shuk (market) stalls and shipudim (meat-skewer) restaurants.
  • Hi-tech constitutes 60 percent of Jerusalem's industrial sector. The Super-Drink bottling plant constitutes the rest.
  • The largest industrial employers in Jerusalem are IDT (1500 employees), NDS (1100), Angel Bakeries (750), Teva (700) and "Just sorta standing around eating sunflower seeds" (25,000).
  • Jerusalem housing is the most in-demand in Israel - 11 percent of those seeking to rent an apartment in Israel were seeking one in Jerusalem, an increase of 35 percent in comparison to 2005. The remaining 89 percent? Well, there's no accounting for taste, or Tel Aviv for that matter.
  • 1,225,800 guests stayed in Jerusalem hotels in the year 2007: 875,200 international tourists and 350,600 Israelis. In 2002, during the height of the Intifada, the number of guests for the year stood at 556,200. And that means 556,200 big discounts "for brave tourist" (as signs on shop windows used to read).
  • 86 percent of residents polled are satisfied with their lives, while 58 percent are optimistic and confident that life will improve in the years to come. In Tel Aviv, 83 percent are satisfied and 50 percent are optimistic; in Haifa, 83 percent are satisfied and 51 percent are optimistic. If you think about it, this means that 42 percent of Jerusalemites are pretty sure their lives are going to get worse, but statistics are all about interpretation: 42 percent of Jerusalemites have lives good enough that they could be worse.
  • The total amount of green space in Jerusalem and its environs, more than 50,000 dunams (50 million square meters), is nearly equivalent to the entire municipal area of Tel Aviv and almost big enough to hold its superiority complex.
  • There are approximately 140 kilometers of walking paths in Jerusalem.
  • In 2007, 18,591 babies were born in Jerusalem: 9,541 boys and 9,050 girls. In 15 years or so, that discrepancy may start getting awkward.
  • 63 children were born on Jerusalem Day 2007. If 23 of those mothers could have just kept those precious little bundles of incontinent joy womb-bound for one more day, it could have been a special and meaningful 40 births. Thanks, ladies.
  • The most common name for babies in 2007 was the Arabic form of Joseph (Yusef) for boys (298) and the Arabic form of Mary (Mariam) for girls (239). It remains to be seen if, once all those Yusefs and Mariams grow up and have children of their own, the most popular baby name in the city will be Jesus.
  • 70 Jerusalem babies born in 2007 were named Uri, which means at least 70 people are satisfied enough with Uri Lupolianski's performance to allow their child to share his name. They should probably start piping the local news into maternity wards.
  • The most common name among first-grade boys in Jerusalem is Daniel. The most common names among first-grade girls are Eden and Adi. This is pretty conservative compared to, say, Tel Aviv, where the most common children's names are "Florentin," "Azrieli" and "Disco-Bar."
  • In east Jerusalem, the most common boys' name is Chip. Wait, no, Muhammad.
  • Among the ultra-Orthodox, the most common names are David, Sarah and an unpronounceable-yet-holy mishmash of Yiddish diphthongs.
  • Jerusalem is Israel's youngest city: 53 percent of residents are younger than 25. 41 percent are under 18. 89 percent of those under two are at any given time located directly behind your seat at the movie theater.
  • The mayor of Jerusalem's abundantly fruitful loins have given rise to 12 children and over 30 grandchildren, none of whom will lay eyes on a completed light rail in their lifetime.
  • Jerusalem is home to over 70 cultural institutions which hold thousands of yearly events, ranging from opera and ballet to Beitar riots.
  • The city is home to 60 museums, more than any other in Israel, which is why Jerusalemites are so smart. And attractive.
  • Jerusalem hosts over 30 yearly festivals, the most of all Israeli cities. Some of 'em have free wine: Jerusalemite'll let you know.
  • The city is home to 70 hotels, offering between them 9,000 rooms for visitors. If the Messiah comes, he'd better bring more beds.
  • There are about 2,000 archaeological sites in Jerusalem, with more being conveniently uncovered every time the government is finally forced to break ground on a public works project.
  • On a typical winter day, Jerusalemites consume 160,000 cubic meters of water. In summer, the number rises to 220,000. Roughly 78 percent of this water is boiled in an electric kettle and poured over instant coffee crystals.
  • Every day, 110,000 vehicles enter the city, and 220,000 are abandoned outside the entrance to the city when their drivers grow weary of the traffic and decide to hoof it.
  • 150 traffic cameras are installed in the city, controlled by the central traffic authority. Just... watching. Watching you. Waiting.

And there you have it: all you need to know about Jerusalem until next year. Now go share your new knowledge over drinks at one of the dozens of bars in the city, of which 67 percent have an extensive single malt scotch collection, and at which you are 47 percent likely to meet a nice member of the opposite sex with whom you have a 34 percent chance of producing a child who runs a 72 percent chance of being named Daniel or Muhammad. Statistics never lie.

And don't forget to reference Jerusalemite's wide-scoping coverage of the 41st Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim) celebrations

A view from the Old City rooftops (top, courtesy of Aedes from flickr under a creative commons license) and of the Jerusalem skyline overlooking the Hyatt and other hotels (above, courtesy of Beny Shlevich from flickr under a creative commons license).

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