'Settler population doubled in 12 years'

Report: Jewish population in Judea and Samaria grew 3 times as fast as general Israeli population.

ofra 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
ofra 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The settler population in the West Bank is growing three times as fast as the population in the rest of the country and has doubled over the past 12 years, according to an extensive demographic study published Monday by the Ariel University Center in Samaria (the College of Judea and Samaria). Settlement residents tend to be healthier, have a higher income and are more likely to be employed than other Israelis, and their children are more likely to do well on the matriculation exams than their counterparts who live within the Green Line, according to the 240-page study. The report is filled with statistical tables to support its conclusions, many of them based on data from the Central Bureau of Statistics. On the demographic front, the study states that in the last 12 years the settler population has grown by 107 percent, from 130,000 people in 1995 to 270,000 people in 2007, compared with 29% growth in the rest of the country. In the last three years, from 2005 to 2007, the growth has been three times as high as elsewhere, 5% a year compared to 1.7%. Most of the population increase is the result of new babies born to residents. In 2007, of the 14,500 new residents of Judea and Samaria, 9,000 were newborns. Of the remaining 5,500 new residents, 800 are new immigrants and 4,700 are Israelis who moved from within the Green Line. The settler birth rate is higher than within the Green Line, with 35 children born to every 1,000 people as opposed to 20. Overall the settler population is younger than elsewhere. The average age is 20 compared to 28 outside of Judea and Samaria. Residents who are 65 and over make up only 2.9% of the population compared with 10% elsewhere. Most of the settlers are native Israelis, 82.6%, compared with 69.5% in the rest of the country. In 2006, 3.9% of new immigrants went to live in Judea and Samaria, of whom 38.8% were from the United States, 25.8% were from the former Soviet Union while 19.7% came from France or England. According to 2006 data, the settlement with the highest number of immigrants was Ariel, where 42.2% of the population are immigrants who came to Israel after 1990. In Maaleh Ephraim 24.7% of the residents are immigrants, in Kiryat Arba, 17.9%, in Efrat, 15.5% and in Maaleh Adumim, 15.1%. Haredim, who have been populating fast-growing West Bank cities like Betar Illit and Modi'in Illit, make up 30.7% of the settler population, compared with 7.5 % of the population within the Green Line. Settlers are more likely to work. Some 62% of the population participates in the work force compared with 56% elsewhere. Similarly, unemployment is lower - 6.5% in Judea and Samaria compared with 7.3% in the rest of the country. Some 71.2% of settler teens who take the matriculation exams earn a matriculation certificate, compared to 65.8% in the rest of the country. Settlers make more money, NIS 13,566 on average per family in 2006, compared with NIS 12,343 in the rest of the country. Per capita income, however, is 13% less than elsewhere because settler families are larger. Settlers were more likely to describe themselves as healthy, 91% compared with 73% within the Green Line, and to state that they were satisfied with their lives - 92.3% compared to 83% in the rest of the country. On the negative side, there are proportionately 22% more criminal files in Judea and Samaria than in Israel proper.