New Study Finds Increase in Employment Rate and Income for Israelis Aged 65-74

Taub Center research shows employment rate for Israeli men aged 65-74 rose to 70% in 2011, up 10% from 2000; rate for women jumped to 53%, from 35%.

The employment rate among Israelis age 55 to 74 has significantly increased in the past decade along with their income, according to the findings of a new study by the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel.

According to the center's findings, which will be presented to the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee on Tuesday, the employment rate among men ages 55-64 rose to 70% in 2011, from 60% in 2000. Among women ages 55-64, the employment rate rose in the same period to 53%, from 35%. A similar increase in employment rates for older people occurred in all Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, but the rise in most countries was more moderate. The average employment rate for men age 55-64 in OECD countries is under 65%, while for women in this age group it is 45%.

Similarly, in the 65-74 age group the employment rate among men rose to 30% in 2011, from 20% in 2000, while for women it rose to 13% from 5% in the same period. The OECD average employment rate for women ages 65-74 is slightly higher than in Israel, but for men ages 65-74 it is lower.

The Taub Center researchers found that, in the last decade, the income of people between ages 65 and 74 spiked 27% - to a real average household gross monthly income per capita of NIS 6,347, from NIS 5,004 a decade ago.

For those above the age of 75, their real average gross monthly household income per capita has risen 22%, to NIS 5,333 (from NIS 4,364). In contrast, no substantial change occurred in the average income of people ages 55-64 in Israel in the past decade. The research did not examine why this increase in income only occurred among those age 65 and older.

"If until now one could speak about three levels of postretirement income – National Insurance Institute old age benefits, pension funds, and private savings - now a fourth level that continues to grow can be added, and that is labor income," said Taub Center deputy director and researcher Prof. Ayal Kimhi.

Kimhi and fellow Taub Center researcher Kyrill Shraberman found that the increase in income stems primarily from the increase in employment rates among older Israelis.

However, Kimhi qualified the general findings by saying that they only hold true for the Jewish population. He said that among Israel's Arab population, income per capita was about half that of Jews at the beginning of the last decade, and that since then the gaps have only widened.

Alon Ron