The West Bank settler population grew almost three times faster than that of the country as a whole in the first nine months of 2009.
However, the 4.9-percent increase, when compared with the same time last year, shows that for the second year in a row, population growth has slowed down slightly, according to data posted recently on the Central Bureau of Statistics Web site.
According to the CBS, the Jewish population in Judea and Samaria grew from 290,400 on December 31, 2008, to 301,200 at the end of September 2009.
These numbers do not include Jews living in east Jerusalem, who are often included in statistics compiled by the international community.
Settlers living in Judea and Samaria represented 4.1% of Israel’s population of 7.4 million at the end of September 2009. The total population grew by 1.8%compared to last year at the same period.
In 2008, the settler population grew by 14,000 people, out of which 9,700 were births.
Out of the 10,800 new people in Judea and Samaria at the end of September 2009, 50.4%, or 5,400 new people, came in the West Bank’s three largest Jewish cities – Modi’in Illit, Beitar Illit and Ma’aleh Adumim – all of which are close to the pre-1967 armistice line. The government believes that that these three settlements would remain within Israeli jurisdiction in any final-status agreement with the Palestinians.
The haredi city of Modi’in Illit, situated 600 meters from the pre-1967 line, grew by 9.5% when compared to the end of September 2008, and as of that same time in 2009, had a population of 44,900. In Beitar Illit, a haredi city in Gush Etzion, 400 meters from the Green Line, the population rose by 6.5% from that same period in 2008; at the end of September 2009, it had a population of 36,400.
And in Ma’aleh Adumim, located 4.5 kilometers east of the capital, the number of residents grew by 3.1%, in that same period and had a population of 34,400 at the end of September 2009.
The remaining 50.6% of the growth, or 5,300 people, are spread out among the remaining 117 settlements.
A study of 2007 data done by The Jerusalem Post last year showed that in only 25 settlements did the population grow by 100 or more people. In some cases it was static or declined slightly.
The CBS has not yet published its 2009 data for settlements with populations of fewer than 2,000.
Out of the 24 settlements with more than 2,000 residents, none grew by
more than 300 people in the first nine months of 2009, and in some
cases growth was minimal or static. In Karnei Shomron, for example, the
growth rate was zero.
The numbers on the database are preliminary and subject to change.
Last year, for example, the CBS stated that the settler population for
Judea and Samaria in 2008 was 289,600, and said that it represented a
4.9% increase over the previous year.
At the time, it was one of the lowest rates of increase in at least 15
years. Since then the CBS has adjusted that 2008 number to 290,400, a
5.1% jump from 2007. Since 2000, the settler population has increased
each year by between 5% and 5.7%. This has meant an increase of
anywhere from 10,000 to 14,400 people annually.