Patterns of urban/rural migration in Israel

Uzi Rebhun, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
David L. Brown, Cornell University

Migration across internal boundaries is important because it involves different determinants and relations. Movement from one type of area to another attests to processes of distance, socio-economic barriers, and heterogeneity. Movement between two localities of one type entails fewer and different types of changes than migration between structurally diverse areas. We seek to examine urban-rural migration in Israel. Despite being a small country Israel has experienced extensive development outside of its major cities, accompanied by a population dispersion that has been constant although implemented in varying ways. The paper develops from a descriptive comparison of the urban and rural patterns of Jews and non-Jews; thereafter, due to the small number of non-Jewish migrants, it focuses solely on Jews, probing the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of migrants and non-migrants and differentiating among the latter by distance of migration. Finally, for those Jews who moved between localities, an attempt is made to assess the individual and area-contextual factors that affect migration between different types of localities. Findings on five-year migration from the 2008 Israeli census point to a strong tendency to change type of residence, often also involving a change of district of residence. These patterns emphasize the importance of specific individual characteristics and the implications of such movements in terms of commuting to work and homeownership. Insofar as migration between different types of localities involves long distances, they are also guided by job opportunities and religio-ethnic concentration. Urban-rural population exchanges among Jews in Israel, while generally in accord with previous studies of the phenomena in other countries, tend to be less definite with respect to socioeconomic status and age. Perhaps this is because many of the urban and rural moves in Israel are of relatively short distance and either originate or end in lower density, peripheral, parts of large urban agglomerations.

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Presented in Session 7: Internal migration and residential segregation