A background to the following document from the 1997 Palestinian census, which was reconfirmed during the 2007 Palestinian census and by Israeli demographers who participated in the Palestinian census: Contrary to internationally accepted standards, the Palestinian Authority includes in its population census over 400,000 residents (mostly from Judea & Samaria) who are abroad for over a year. In addition, some 300,000 Jerusalem Arabs are doubly-counted as Israeli and West Bank Arabs. Also, over 100.000 (mostly West Bank) Arabs, who married Israeli Arabs, are similarly double-counted. Signigicant inconsistencies were documented between the birth records of the Palestinian Health Ministry and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), as well as between the migration data of the PCBS and the computerized records of the international passages in the West Bank and Gaza.
A comprehensive population enumeration always depends on the essence and the nature of the census. In general, population censuses cover all persons residing within the limits of a certain country, at a specific time. A population census is based on the following:
- De-facto Approach: Based on the enumeration of individuals according to their existence in the area of enumeration at census moment, regardless of their usual place of residence.
- De-jure Approach: Based on the enumeration of individuals according to their usual place of residence, regardless of their presence at the census moment.
For the first ever Palestinian census, the de-facto approach was adopted with some exceptions. The census count included the following categories:
A – The Categories underwent complete data collection.
1. All persons present in the Palestinian territories on the census reference date, irrespective of nationality, purpose of stay and place of residence in the Palestinian territories.
2. All temporarily living abroad (for one year prior to the night of the reference date) and who have a usual place of residence in the Palestinian territories. Those persons are enumerated as parts of their households.
3. All Palestinians studying abroad irrespective of the study period and the period of stay abroad along with all Palestinian detainees in the Israeli jails regardless of the detention period.
B – Palestinian abroad: Categories underwent data collection on their numbers and sex only This category includes Palestinians who live abroad for more than one year and who have a usual place of residence in the Palestinian territories and have identity cards (except for students and detainees enumerated in the previous category) irrespective of the purpose of stay abroad.