1 in 4 still in poverty: BoI

Some 24.7% of individuals lived in poverty in 2005, with the figure slipping to 24.4% at the end of first-half if 2006.

By ROBERT DANIEL, MARKETWATCH
March 29, 2007 07:16
1 minute read.

 
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MarketWatch: In-depth global business coverage The number of Israelis living below the poverty line slipped in first-half 2006 but remained at nearly one in four, and more than one-third of Israeli children lived in poverty during 2005, the Bank of Israel reported Wednesday. "Poverty in Israel has reached a high level in recent years, high also in international terms," the central bank said in an excerpt from its 2006 annual report, to be published in full next month. Some 24.7% of individuals lived in poverty in 2005, with the figure slipping to 24.4% at the end of first-half if 2006. Poverty rose for the three years through 2005. The poverty line is defined in the report as half the median income. The Arab and ultra-Orthodox accounted for 60% of those in poverty, "a rate that has grown significantly over the years," the central bank said. Many men within the rigorously Orthodox Jewish community spend much of their time studying scripture and do not work. And the poverty rate in the Arab sector reflects a relatively low participation by women in the labor force, analysts say. Of those classified as poor, 40% "manage to consume more than the amount indicated by the poverty line, apparently through the use of credit or savings," the Bank of Israel said. But the weaker sections of the population find it difficult "to maintain a reasonable standard of living," the report says. Child poverty rose 2 percentage points in 2005 "to an unprecedented 35.2%, which is high also by international comparison," the central bank said. Poverty rose mostly because the government cut welfare payments in 2002 and 2003, the report said. Those budget cuts were part of the government's effort to balance the budget. The weaker segments of society "are heavily dependent on welfare payments," the report noted. MarketWatch: In-depth global business coverage

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