Israeli inequality inches down, first Well-Being report shows

The report noted that Israeli inequality was near the worst in the OECD, near the United States, Turkey, Mexico and Chile.

May 4, 2016 18:02
1 minute read.

Shekel money bills. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Inequality in Israeli society has declined slightly, according to the first Governmental Report on Well-being, Sustainability and National Resilience, released by the Central Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday.

The report, which assessed 11 areas of the quality of life using data through 2014 from a broad swath of sources, found that inequality, as assessed by the Gini coefficient, rose from 2008 to 2011, but dropped through 2013.

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The Gini coefficient, in which 0 represents total inequality and 1 represents full equality, fell from 0.371 in 2012 to 0.36 in 2013, according to the report.

Even as inequality headed in the right direction, however, the report noted that Israeli inequality was near the worst in the OECD, near that of the United States, Turkey, Mexico and Chile.

In terms of overall wealth, Israel hit its highest-ever real income per person, which rose 1.7 percent in 2014 to an annual NIS 134,700 (in 2013 prices), 19% higher than in 2000. Still, in 2012, price-adjusted national disposable income per person was just 85% of the OECD average, meaning the average Israeli had the equivalent of 15% less buying power than his counterparts.

That same year, some 58% of people over 20 said they were satisfied with their financial situation, with only a slight difference between men (59%) and women (57%). Jews were significantly more satisfied with their financial situation than Arabs (60% as compared to 48%, respectively).

The state’s debt burden had fallen to roughly 65% of GDP, lower than in France (85%), Spain (88%), the United Kingdom (94%) and the United States (98%), but higher than in Germany (48%), the Czech Republic (46%), Sweden (44%) and Turkey (37%). Household debt, at 47% of GDP, was significantly lower than in many other OECD countries, beneath that of Spain (79%), France (63%) and Germany (56%), though still above Poland (35%), Slovakia (32%) and Hungary (31%).

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