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 (2019) [1]


Percentage of Palestinians in the total Jerusalem population (East and West), as tabulated in the Israeli Population Registry (2019) [2]


Percentage of Muslims in the general Palestinian population of Jerusalem (2019) [3]


Percentage of Christians in the general Palestinian population of Jerusalem (2019) [4]


Percentage that Palestinian residents within the Israeli municipal boundaries of Jerusalem comprise of of Israel’s total Palestinian population (citizens and permanent residents) (2019) [5]


Average number of persons per household among Palestinian Jerusalemites (2019) [6]


Literacy rate among Palestinians in Jerusalem [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. Michal Korach and Maya Chosen, Jerusalem Facts and Trends 2021: The State of the City and Changing Trends Facts and Trends (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research, 2021), 14. The authors report this percentage as 38, but running the mathematical calculation on the raw data yields a result of 38.32. Data from this source reflect the number of Palestinians entered in the Israeli Population Registry (including both citizens and permanent residents). Unregistered persons and persons with PA IDs living in Jerusalem are not included and may number in the thousands or tens of thousands, but those data are unknown. 

2. Korach and Chosen, Jerusalem Facts, 15. 

3. Korach and Chosen, Jerusalem Facts, 16.

4. Korach and Chosen, Jerusalem Facts, 16.

5. Korach and Chosen, Jerusalem Facts, 16. 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. Korach and Chosen, Jerusalem Facts, 90. 

7. Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, “Jerusalem Statistical Yearbook—2020 [in Arabic] (July 2020), 76.

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


More on This Topic

Video “We Are Here”—A Jerusalemite Family Story

A Palestinian whose family was forced to relocate from West to East Jerusalem in 1948 returns to one of the family homes in West Jerusalem that Israel confiscated and shares his family’s story and memories.

Photo Grinding Corn

A scene from daily life in Jerusalem at the end of the 19th century