Officially, Palestinian Jerusalemites comprise nearly half of the population of Jerusalem within the Israeli-defined municipal boundaries, but unofficially their number is much higher. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Jerusalemites live outside the city and its environs—most not by choice. This topic explores their stories.

The Story in Numbers


Palestinian population of Jerusalem, within the Israeli unilaterally-declared municipal boundaries (2020) [1]


Percentage of Palestinians in the total Jerusalem population (East and West) (2020) [2]


Percentage of Muslims in the Palestinian population of Jerusalem (2020) [3]


Percentage of Christians in the Palestinian population of Jerusalem (2020) [4]


Percentage that Palestinian residents within the Israeli municipal boundaries of Jerusalem comprise of Israel’s total Palestinian population (citizens and permanent residents) (2020) [5]


Average number of persons per household among Palestinian Jerusalemites (compared with 3.3 for Jewish households) (2020) [6]


Literacy rate among Palestinians in Jerusalem (2021) [7]


Percentage of Palestinian children living within the Israeli municipal boundaries who live below the Israeli poverty level (versus 33 percent of Jewish children) [8]


1. Omer Yaniv, Netta Haddad, and Yair Assaf-Shapira, Jerusalem Facts and Trends 2022 (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research, 2022), 20. Reflects the number of Palestinians entered in the Israeli Population Registry (including both citizens and permanent residents). Unregistered persons and persons with Palestinian Authority IDs living in Jerusalem may number in the thousands or tens of thousands, but are not counted in this source.

2. Omer Yaniv et al., Jerusalem Facts, 20. Lists the Jerusalem population of Christian Palestinians as 12,900 and Muslim Palestinians as 353,800, but added together, these only total 366,700 not 366,800, the same source’s stated total of Palestinians in the city. Therefore, approximately 100 people are missing from these religious categories without explanation.

3. Omer Yaniv et al., Jerusalem Facts, 20. See note 2.

4. Omer Yaniv et al., Jerusalem Facts, 20. See note 2.

5. Omer Yaniv et al., Jerusalem Facts, 20. This calculation is made by an Israeli institute based on the assumption that both West and occupied East Jerusalem are part of Israel. It is offered as a point of insight, without any political inference or connotation.

6. Omer Yaniv et al., Jerusalem Facts, 98. 

7. Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, “Jerusalem Statistical Yearbook—2021” [in Arabic] (June 2022) 77.

8. Association for Civil Rights in Israel, “East Jerusalem—Facts and Figures 2021.”