update deskIsrael News

Israelis leaving the big cities for mid-size communities

Tel Aviv saw the largest exodus of residents in 2017, with more than 23,000 leaving • Ramat Gan welcomed the most new residents, many of whom moved there from Tel Aviv.

The Tel Aviv beach and promenade, July 30, 2012. Credit: Israel Tourism Bureau via Wikimedia Commons.
The Tel Aviv beach and promenade, July 30, 2012. Credit: Israel Tourism Bureau via Wikimedia Commons.

The Central Bureau of Statistics reports that Israelis are leaving the nation’s three largest cities—Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa—and opting to live in suburbs and mid-sized towns like Ramat Gan, Rosh HaAyin, Hod Hasharon in central Israel; Afula and Hadera in the north; and Ashkelon in the south.

According to CBS data, Tel Aviv—the “city that never sleeps,” and home to popular beaches and nightlife—is also the city of nonstop emigration. In 2017, a total of 23,040 Tel Aviv residents left. Jerusalem saw the second-largest exodus, with 17,098 residents leaving. A total of 9,870 Haifa residents left the city that same year.

Ramat Gan, east of Tel Aviv, took in the largest number of new residents in 2017, welcoming 9,180 new residents, 2,593 of whom are former Tel Avivians. In comparison, 1,632 Ramat Gan residents made the opposite trek across the Ayalon Highway into Tel Aviv.

Rosh HaAyin took in the second-largest number of new residents (5,223), followed by Ashkelon (4,270) and Hadera (3,341).

Other figures point to the fact that one-quarter of Israeli citizens either do not pay property taxes or find it difficult to meet their property tax burden. Among business owners, 44 percent either do not pay property tax or have difficulty doing so.

The failure to collect full property taxes is one of the reasons why the number of cities and local authorities running a budget deficit jumped from 53 in 2015 to 83 in 2017. One-third of the nation’s 255 local authorities appeal to the government for help meeting their expenditures, receiving some 3 billion shekels ($800 million) in municipal grants each year.

According to the CBS data, in 2016, some 177,500 Israelis were living in institutions that provided housing, mostly boarding schools and religious institutions, as well as old-age homes. In only 68.1 percent of big-city households do the residents own the apartments in which they live, the lowest rate of home-ownership since the 1970s.

The lowest rate of home-ownership was in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, where only 43.8 percent of apartments are owned by their residents. The Bedouin town Rahat listed the highest rate of homeownership, 94.5 percent

More than half (53.4 percent) of Israelis worked outside the communities in which they lived. Givatayim, located east of Tel Aviv, had the highest rate of commuting residents at 78.7 percent. Only 9.3 percent of the residents of Eilat, at the southernmost tip of Israel, worked outside the city.

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