Around half the population live in seven towns built for them by the Israeli government between 1979 and 1982. The largest Bedouin locality in Israel is the city of Rahat. Other towns include Ar'arat an-Naqab (Ar'ara BaNegev), Bir Hadaj, Hura, Kuseife, Lakiya, Shaqib al-Salam (Segev Shalom) and Tel as-Sabi (Tel Sheva).
The other half of Bedouin citizens of Israel live in 39-45 villages which are not recognized by the Israeli government and are thus ineligible for municipal services such as connection to the electrical grid, water mains or trash-pickup. According to the Israel Land Authority, in 2007 40% of the Bedouin lived in Unrecognized villages, although the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages (RCUV) refer to Bedouin in unrecognized villages as half the Negev Bedouin population. The RCUV figures include the five villages which remain unrecognized despite incorporation into the Abu Basma Regional Council.
Today, many Bedouin call themselves 'Negev Arabs' rather than ‘Bedouin,’ explaining that 'Bedouin' identity is intimately tied in with a pastoral nomadic way of life – a way of life they say is over. Although the Bedouin in Israel continue to be perceived as nomads, today all of them are fully sedentarized, and about half are urbanites. Nevertheless, Negev Bedouin continue to possess goats and sheep: in 2000 the Ministry of Agriculture estimated that the Negev Bedouin owned 200,000 head of sheep and 5,000 of goats, while Bedouin estimates referred to 230,000 sheep and 20,000 goats.