Source: All information in this document comes from the 2015 Annual Report on Poverty and Social Gaps of the National Insurance Institute of Israel (Social Security Administration), Research and Planning Administration.
Rates of Poverty
In 2015, 19.1% of families, or 460,800 families, lived in poverty. 21.7% of people, or 1.71 million people, lived in poverty. Of these, 30% of all children, or 764,000, lived in poverty.
The rate of families living in poverty rose somewhat, while the rates of people and of children living in poverty declined compared with 2014.
A decrease in poverty rates has occurred among ultra-Orthodox families, those with large numbers of children, single-parent families, and the elderly.
The poverty rate among both families and children is the highest among developed countries.
The Poverty Line
In Israel, the poverty line is defined as 50% of the disposable median income (including transfer payments and after deduction of taxes), adjusted to family size. In 2015, the monthly poverty line for a couple was 5,053 NIS or US$1,247 (2015 exchange rate was 1 NIS = US$0.2467). For a couple with two children, the monthly poverty line was 8,086 NIS or US$1,995.
Poverty rates are highest among families with a working-age head of household who is not employed, Arab families, ultra-Orthodox families and families with 4 or more children — all much higher than the national average. The high rates of poverty among Arab and ultra-Orthodox families are related to the large family sizes, lower rates of employment, and lower wages among those employed.
Poverty is much lower among families with an employed head of household. However, it is still significant.
The Representation of Subgroups within the Poor Population
Although all major population groups are significantly represented among the poor, some groups are overrepresented — meaning that their percentage of all poor families is higher than their percentage of the overall population.
Table 2 indicates the representation of different subgroups within the poor population. The level of representation of each group is determined both by their rate of poverty and the percentage of the group in the overall population.
Families with a working-age head of household who is not employed, Arab families, ultra-Orthodox families, and families with 4 or more children are all overrepresented among the population living in poverty.