One in seven Israelis feel poor, according to new CBS report

16% of Israelis forego food due to financial distress.

June 29, 2015 16:57
3 minute read.
Boxes of food for the poor

Boxes of food for the poor. (photo credit: LATET)


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Thirty-nine percent of Israelis cannot cover their monthly expenses, according to a new survey released by the Central Bureau of Statistics on Sunday. The situation is worse for women than for men.

The annual survey on social welfare was conducted between January and December of 2013, during which time some 7,400 people across the country, aged 20 and over, were interviewed.

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One of the positive findings of the report was that Israelis feel a general level of contentment, with 86% of respondents indicating they are satisfied with life. Of those, some 31% are “very satisfied” and 55% are “satisfied.”

Satisfaction in life was one of the only areas in which there was no discernible difference between responses from men and women.

The survey showed a decline in satisfaction as the ages progressed, with some 91% of 20-to-24-year-olds responding that they are satisfied with life, compared to only 79% of those 75 and above.

Some 14% of respondents, representing approximately 700,000 citizens, responded that they are not very satisfied or not satisfied at all with their lives.

In terms of satisfaction with financial situations, levels are much lower. Only 53% of Israelis are satisfied with their financial situation.

Not unsurprisingly, the satisfaction rates with regard to finances correlates with income levels. Only 34% of those with monthly income below NIS 2,000 are satisfied with their financial situation, compared to 46% of those with income between NIS 2,001 and NIS 4,000, and compared to 70% of those with income over NIS 4,000.

Arabs are less satisfied with their financial situation than Jews (49% dissatisfied compared with 45%), and women are less satisfied with their financial situation than men (49% dissatisfied compared with 45%).

Another key finding of the survey was that one in every seven respondents reported feeling “poor” over the past year, corresponding to approximately 725,300 Israelis.

Young respondents between the ages of 20 and 44 were more likely to feel poor than those aged 45 and over.

Arabs (29%) and ultra-Orthodox Jews (22%) had much higher rates of feeling poor than the non-ultra-Orthodox population (10%).

Those who reported feeling poor also tended to report other hardships, at rates higher than those in the general population.

Thirty-three percent of those who feel poor also reported feeling unsatisfied with life, in comparison to 14% of the general population; 24% of those who feel poor reported they have no one to rely on in times of crises, in comparison to only 11% of the general population, and 23% of those who feel poor reported they often feel depressed, in comparison with only 9% of the general population.

On the other hand, over a third of those who feel poor are optimistic about their future finances, with 36% stating they believe their financial situation will change in the near future.

One of the disturbing findings of the survey showed that 16% of respondents, representing approximately 822,200 Israelis, reported that they had forgone food due to financial difficulties. Some 11% gave up a warm meal at least once every two days because of financial difficulties.

Forty-one percent of respondents, representing approximately 2,100,000 Israelis, gave up on heat or cooling of their houses because of financial difficulties.

Others reported doing without medication, not paying bills, not fixing things around the house, giving up dental treatment, or buying clothes for lack of funds.

In all categories, Arabs were significantly more likely to give up on services and goods due to financial hardship.

Some 38% of respondents reported an improvement in their financial situation over the previous five years, however, 42% of Arabs reported that their financial situation had worsened, compared to 24% of Jews.

In terms of the future, the survey showed that two out of every three Israelis are worried about not being able to save money for the future.

The rate among Arabs is much higher than among Jews (79% versus 62%). Within the Jewish population, ultra-Orthodox are less worried than the rest of the Jewish population (51% versus 63%).

Finally, 55% of Israelis are worried they won’t be able to live with dignity in their old age.

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