Israel’s population in Judea and Samaria marked a significant decline in the rate of population growth over the course of 2020, continuing a trend of slowing growth over the past decade.
The decline in the growth rate was caused primarily by a lack of readily available housing – despite the fact that the Civil Administration’s Higher Planning Committee, which meets every quarter to grant approval to new housing, green-lighted thousands of new housing units across Judea and Samaria over the last few years.
According to the latest demographic statistics, there are currently 476,033 Israelis living in 150 towns across Judea and Samaria.
Data analysis by the Yesha Council – the umbrella group representing Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria – found that population growth in Israeli towns in the area stood at 2.6% in 2020, down from 3.4% in 2019.
The rate of growth in Judea and Samaria has been in decline for years, falling from 4.7% in 2012 to the present rate of 2.6%, with declines recorded each year in between except for 2019, which marked a small increase.
Nevertheless, the growth rate in Judea and Samaria remains higher than the national average, which in 2020 stood at 1.7%.
Yesha Council chairman David Elhayani blamed the decline in the growth rate on limitations on the number of new housing units approved during the Obama administration.
“We are suffering right now from the consequences of the freeze in planning [approvals] which ended four years ago. We need to increase the number of tenders for the area and prevent needless delays which are caused by bureaucracy and lack of manpower.”
“While the growth rate remains higher than it is in other parts of the country, there is still a persistent and troubling decline. And there are dozens of towns in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley which are still not normalized and cannot continue to expand as they would like, and that also influences the statistics.”