Rahat wis established in 1972, bi the govrenment o Israel, as a new settlement for Bedouins who lived in the surroondin aurie athoot permanent domicile. Till 1980, Rahat wis pairt o the Bnei Shimon Regional Cooncil an frae then on (till 1994) it wis a local cooncil (admeenistered bi a private board till 1989). In 1994 it wis recognized as a ceety—the first Bedouin ceety in Israel.
The ceety haes a total o 33 neighborhuids. Aw but ane o the neighborhuids consist entirely o separate Bedouin clans but ane is a mixed-clan neighborhuid. Atween ivery neighborhuid, there is a wadi. The ceety an aa haes a mercat, public an commercial services, neighborhuid pairks, public auries, weemen's employment centers, childer's play auries, an several mosques.
Accordin tae CBS, in 2001 the ethnic makeup o the ceety wis amaist completely Arab athoot significant Jewish population (see an aa:Population groups in Israel). As such, it is the lairgest Bedouin settlement in Israel.
Accordin tae CBS, in 2001 there wur 16,300 males an 16,100 females. The population o the ceety wis spread oot wi 65.2% 19 years o age or younger, 15.8% atween 20 an 29, 12.0% atween 30 an 44, 4.7% frae 45 tae 59, 0.9% frae 60 tae 64, an 1.4% 65 years o age or aulder. The population growth rate in 2001 wis 5.9%.
Accordin tae CBS, as o 2000, in the ceety there wur 3,983 salaried wirkers an 437 are sel-employed. The mean monthly wage in 2000 for a salaried wirker in the ceety is ILS 3,008, a real chynge o -0.8% ower the course o 2000. Salaried males hae a mean monthly wage o ILS 3,502 (a real chynge of 0.1%) versus ILS 1,394 for females (a real chynge o -10.7%). The mean income for the sel-employed is 5,198. There are 277 residents who receive govrenment welfare, an 10,906 fowk who receive an income guarantee.