Israel's Growth Outpaces the World
The Central Bureau of Statistics has released the latest population figures for Israeli cities and towns.
Israel’s population as of June 30, 2009 stood at nearly 7.43 million – nearly three-quarters of a percent more than it was at the end of 2008. Some 623,000 people (8.4%) live in rural villages and towns of fewer than 2,000 residents.
Israel's growth rate currently stands at an annual rate of approximately 1.5% - compared to 1.188% for the entire world in 2008.
The ranking of Israel’s 20 largest cities did not change. Jerusalem is still the largest city, with a population of 769,400, followed by Tel Aviv (393,200), Haifa (265,300), Rishon LeTzion (226,500), and Ashdod (210,500).
Jerusalem also grew by the largest amount – 5,800 people, just over three-quarters of a percent. It was followed by Petach Tikvah, Israel’s sixth-largest city, which added more than 2,000 more people (just over 1%) in the first half of 2009.
The hareidi-religious city of Modi'in Illit, also known as Kiryat Sefer, jumped next-highest, by 1,800 people - a full 4.3% - to 43,500 people.
Rounding out Israel's top ten cities are Be'er Sheva (up .032% in the first half of 2009), Netanya (.067), Holon (.064), and Bnei Brak (.091).
Only three cities dropped in population during the first half of 2009: Eilat, Tiberias, and Nazareth Illit, each by between 200 and 300 residents.
Growth in Judea and Samaria, Israel’s fastest-growing regions, continued to surpass that of the rest of the country, but slightly less so. Beitar Illit grew during the first half of 2009 by 2.9%, to a population of 35,700 residents, and Beit El grew by 3.7% to a population of 5,600.
Between 1995 and 2007, the population of Judea and Samaria grew by 107%, from 130,000 to 270,000 people - compared with 29% in the rest of the country. From 2005 until 2007, population growth in Judea and Samaria was three times higher than it was in the rest of Israel - 5% a year compared to 1.7%.