Report: Most Israeli Households Spend More Than They Earn

Only top 20% can save, instead of living in overdraft.

Shoppers packing the Azrieli Center mall in Tel Aviv.
Ofer Vaknin

Most Israeli households spent more than they earned in 2011 and 2012, according to a report published by the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel on Tuesday.

Among Jewish Israelis who are not ultra-Orthodox, households spent an average of 864 shekels a month beyond what they earned in 2012. For ultra-Orthodox Jews, that figure was 3,209 shekels more than their reported income.

For Muslims the figure was 1,919 shekels a month, 671 shekels a month for Christians, and 2,217 shekels a month for Druze.

Only the top 20% of households earned more than they spent, according to the data. These households saved on average 2,317 shekels a month. For households between the 60th and 80th percentile, expenses overstepped income by 922 shekels on average, while for those between the 40th and 60th percentiles, expenses were 1,452 shekels above income on average. For those in the 20th to 40th percentiles, expenses outpaced earnings by 2,326 shekels a month on average. For wage earners at the bottom, expenses were 2.927 shekels beyond wages on average.

As to how it could be that some households’ expenditures outpace income to such a great extent, the Taub Center report suggests that some households may have significant unreported income. Others may be receiving assistance from relatives, such as grown children whose parents are dipping into their savings in order to help fund apartment purchases.

The average household had a monthly income of 19,653 shekels, including 12,057 shekels from salaries. Households had an average monthly expenditure of 13,967 shekels.

The top 20% of households had an average monthly combined income of 40,145 shekels before taxes, while the bottom 20% had an average income of only 7,027 shekels.