Jerusalem, Dec 15, 2016: More than 1.7 million people — some 21.7 percent of the population — are living in poverty in Israel today, according to the annual poverty report released by the National Insurance Institute on Thursday.
According to the report, which is based on data gathered by the Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2015 there were 1,712,900 people, including 460,800 families and 764,200 children living below poverty line.
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The report, published by online JPost, found that the overall poverty rate decreased from 22 per cent in 2014 while the number of families living in poverty increased from 18.8 per cent in 2014 to 19.1 per cent in 2015.
Poverty among children decreased from 31 per cent in 2014 to 30 per cent in 2015 and poverty among the elderly decreased from 22.3 per cent in 2014 to 21.7 per cent in 2015.
In defining poverty, the findings indicated that an individual with a monthly income of less than NIS 3,158 ($821) and couples earning less than NIS 5,053 ($1,314) per month were considered to be living below the poverty line; whereas a family of five individuals must earn more than NIS 9,475 ($2,465)to be considered above the poverty line.
According to the report, the standard of living in terms of disposable median income per capita rose in real terms by 3.3 per cent in 2015, as did the poverty line.
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According to the report’s author, Daniel Gottlieb, Deputy Director-General for Research and Planning at the NII, this was most likely due to the reinstatement of child allotments in 2015.
The data also broke down the poverty rates between different population groups in Israel.
Among ultra-Orthodox families, the poverty rate decreased from 54.3 per cent in 2014 to 48.7 per cent in 2015, accounting for 17 per cent of poor families in Israel.
The reason for the decrease, the report notes, is primarily due to the increase in income due to employment and the reinstatement of child allotments.
In the Arab population, the poverty rate of Arab families increased to 53.3 per cent in 2015 from 52.6 per cent in 2014, while the poverty rate among children also increased from 63.5 per cent in 2014 to 65.6 per cent in 2015.
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When compared to other OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, Israel still has the highest poverty rates of all developed countries, the report noted.
In addition, the GINI index of inequality showed slight improvement, however, the country continues to remain among those with the highest measure of inequality. (IANS)