How Israel’s Poor Live: Without Internet or a Car

45% of poor households do not have a computer, but 63% own their home.

Lior Dattel
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Some 45% of poor Israeli households did not have a computer as of 2011. Credit:

Most poor families in Israel do not have an Internet connection or cable television at home. Some 45% of the poor do not have a computer as of 2011, the Bank of Israel reported based on data from the Central Bureau of Statistics. Even after removing the ultra-Orthodox from the calculations, since most do not have computers or Internet connections for religious reasons, the figures still remain much the same.

Some 61% of poor households have no Internet connection (59% after adjusting for the Haredi population), compared to only 22% of Israeli households who are not defined as poor. About 70% of poor households do not have cable or satellite television hookups, compared to just 30% of those who are not poor, while 45% of poor households have no computer.

The central bank says the gaps in computer ownership are especially troubling because of their potential consequences on children’s education and access to information.

The Bank of Israel’s figures also show that average disposable per capita income in poor households is a quarter of that in non-poor households, and consumer spending in poor households is half that of in non-poor homes. The per capita expenditure on food among the poor is 40% less than for households that are not poor.

The poor are heavily concentrated in the poorest communities around the country. Some 63% own homes, compared to 70% of the non-poor. The number of people living in these homes is higher for the poor.

Some 70% of poor households do not own a car, compared to 28% for those who are not poor. Only 3% of the poor households have at least two cars, compared to 28% for the rest.

Some 35% of the poor households do not have a landline phone and 58% do not have an air conditioner. Only 12% have a dishwasher, compared to 42% of the non-poor households.

Over half − 53% − of the poor households have at least two cellular phones, compared to 75% for the rest of the population.