Published On: Mon, Dec 31st, 2018

Israel concludes 2018 with Nearly 9 million residents

Israel ranks first among the OECD countries in the poverty index per capita. About 1.8 million Israelis live in poverty, 814,000 of them are children.


On the occasion of the New Year, the Central Bureau of Statistics today publishes the full data on citizens of Israel. In the past year, there has been a significant increase in the population as a result of natural increase and impressive immigration rates.

The National Insurance Institute’s Poverty Report for 2017 was also published today (Monday), presenting bleak data alongside mixed trends: on the one hand, a decline in the rate of poverty and a reduction in inequality, but on the other hand, an increase in the severity and depth of poverty among working families. This year, too, Israel ranks first in the poverty per capita index among the OECD countries.

Population

To date, there are approximately 8,972,000 residents in Israel. 74.3% of them (approximately 6,668,000) were Jews, 20.9% (1,878,000), and 4.8% (426,000) others.

During the year, the population grew by 174,000, or about 2% annually. Most of the growth, about 81%, is the result of natural increase.

Among the Jewish population, the population was more than 100,000. Among the Arab population, the population is 37,000, and among other populations, the natural increase was 3,500. A total of 185,000 babies were born in Israel this year.

In addition to natural increase, Israel also enjoyed a positive migration balance this year: with 32,600 new residents. The vast majority – about 84% – are non-Jews. The main countries from which immigrants arrived this year are Russia, from which about a third of all immigrants arrived, from Ukraine (19.6%), France (8%) and the United States (8%).

Approximately 45,000 residents were killed in Israel in 2018, and approximately seven thousand were counted as survivors because they were abroad for more than a year. Altogether, at the start of the new year, the State of Israel has almost 9 million residents.

Israel Poor people collect food from ground in Carmel Market in Tel Aviv (Photo Ido Erez)

Poverty 

In 2017 there were 466,400 families living below the poverty line in Israel – 1,780,500 persons – of whom 814,800 were children. The figures reflect a decline of about 0.1% compared to 2016.

The rate of children living in poverty fell for the first time to a level similar to that in 2002, before the extensive cut by the then Minister of Finance Benjamin Netanyahu in the allowances system.

The Gini Index of inequality decreased by 1.6 percent in that year. This decline continues in a positive trend and brings Israel closer to the average of the OECD countries in terms of income inequality. However, poverty indices per capita remain at the top of the table following improvements recorded in other member countries.

The decline in the incidence of poverty stemmed mainly from the increase in employment rates and as a result of the increase in the minimum wage and wages in the economy.

This means that among working families, the rate of poverty has declined, but among those who did not succeed in integrating into the labor market due to various disabilities or old age, this improvement was not felt at all. The poverty rate among this population rose by 7% to 76%, since the allowances for unemployed, veteran or multi-child families were not updated according to the increase in general income.

The depth and severity indices of poverty among non-working families rose by 4.4% and 10%, respectively.

The incidence of poverty among families with an elderly head of household rose by 1% to 21.8%. However, the increase in the supplement to the old civilian pension, which was implemented at the end of 2015, contributed to a relatively stable level of poverty among the elderly population in Israel.

Among immigrants (families who immigrated to Israel from 1990), the incidence of poverty rose from 17% to 18.4%, after years of continuous decline.

About 43.1% of Haredi families are below the poverty line, a decrease of 2% compared with 2016. In total, the ultra-Orthodox constitute about 15% of all poor families in Israel, a much larger proportion of their relative share in society.

In the Arab sector, the same drop was recorded (2%) and now 47.1% of the Arab families in Israel live in poverty.

The sharpest decline was recorded among Arabs who did not live in East Jerusalem, where there was an increase in the incidence of poverty, as well as among the Bedouin population in the Negev. Despite the decline, similar to the Jewish population, in the Arab sector, the depth and severity of poverty increased sharply, by 10% and 22%, respectively.

“Netanyahu is talking about a winning economy and Israel has once again won the dubious title of poverty champion of Western countries,” said MK Itzik Shmuli (Zionist camp), “This government succeeded in generating the unbelievable – both deepening the deficit and improving almost the social situation. Shame that all its achievements amount to a tenth of a percent reduction in the poverty rate of families. “

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