Chareidi population centers such as Jerusalem, Beitar Illit,
Modi'in Illit, Beit Shemesh and Elad posted substantial
increases in 2002, both as a result of positive internal
migration and natural growth. Kiryat Yearim (Telz Stone) did
not show an increase in the number of residents, Rechasim
posted a slight increase, Bnei Brak dropped slightly and
Emmanuel posted a decrease.
Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) figures show that at the
end of 2002 Israel's population numbered 6,640,100. During
the course of the year the population increased by 131,000,
an annual growth rate of 2 percent, which was lower than in
recent years. The Bureau attributes the diminished growth
rates to a decline in immigration. In 2002 34,500 immigrants
arrived compared to 43,500 in 2001 (a 21 percent drop). The
rate for 2003 seems even lower so far.
The following is a list of population figures for chareidi
towns and cities in Israel: Beitar Illit increased from
17,300 to 20,200 residents, an increase of 2,900 people (a
growth rate of 16.5 percent).
Modi'in Illit increased from 19,200 to 22,000, an increase of
2,800 people (14.8 percent growth).
Elad increased from 8,900 to 15,100, an increase of 6,200
people (69.2 percent growth).
Beit Shemesh increased from 49,100 to 53,400, an increase of
4,200 people (8.6 percent growth). A very substantial portion
of this increase was in the new chareidi building
Rechasim increased from 7,600 to 7,700, an increase of 100
people (1.5 percent growth).
Jerusalem grew from 670,000 to 684,400, an increase of 10,500
people (1.6 percent growth).
Bnei Brak maintained a level population with a slight
decrease from 139,000 to 138,900.
Emmanuel decreased from 2,700 to 2,400.
The Central Bureau of Statistics notes Beitar Illit and
Modi'in Illit posted especially high growth rates due to
internal migration (meaning people who moved there from
elsewhere in Israel) and high birth rates. In Beitar Illit 60
percent of growth stems from migration and 40 percent from
natural increase. More than half of Modi'in Illit's growth
(55.5 percent) came from natural increase and 41 percent from
Elad's 70 percent growth rate came as a result of massive
construction in the city, located in the center of the
country. With a total population of 15,100 the vast majority
(83 percent) of its growth stems from internal migration and
a much lower figure (16 percent) from natural increase.
Beit Shemesh surpassed the 50,000 mark, finishing the year
with a total of 53,300 residents with a high annual growth
rate of 8.4 percent. The Statistics Bureau explains that the
new neighborhood of Ramat Beit Shemesh, begun in 1990 and
still growing to this day, contributed greatly to the
population increase in the city in recent years. Most of
Ramat Beit Shemesh's incoming residents are chareidim. Based
on internal migration trends posted in 2001 most new Beit
Shemesh residents moved from Jerusalem (half of all incoming
residents), Mevasseret Tzion and Bnei Brak. Only a few dozen
moved from Efrat, Emmanuel, Eli, Beitar Illit, Modi'in Illit
and the North, particularly Tzfat. From the South, new
residents came primarily from Ashdod and Ashkelon.
According to the CBS, the vast majority of Jerusalem's
population growth was from natural increase, mostly in the
chareidi and Arab sectors. Six thousand six hundred residents
left the city for nearby towns.
In contrast Israel's third largest city, Haifa, posted a
decrease of 400 people to 271,800.
The second largest city, Tel Aviv, posted a low but positive
growth rate of 0.7 percent, increasing the population to
Rishon Letzion increased by 2 percent to 212,100. Within the
next few years Ashdod, which now numbers 187,600, is expected
to reach the 200,000 mark.