Kfar Sava Leads Israeli Cities for Household Income

At NIS 27,104 ($7,800) a month last year, the town's average was 6,000 more than the national average

Avi Waksman
Avi Waksman
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Kfar Sava
Kfar SavaCredit: Tomer Appelbaum
Avi Waksman
Avi Waksman

The Tel Aviv suburb of Kfar Sava was for the first time Israel’s wealthiest city based on average income in 2018, not because it residents suddenly began earning more but because its population crossed the 100,000 minimum to be counted as a city.

The data, which was released by the Central Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday, showed that average gross household income in the city was 27,104 shekels ($7,800 at the current exchange rate) a month, nearly 2,000 shekels more than the No. 2 city and 6,000 shekels more than the national average, including all towns and cities.

However, if you count average net income (after taxes and other obligatory payments) per person Tel Aviv-Jaffa retained the top spot in 2018. The city’s residents averaged 9,009 shekels net income per person, compared with 7,374 for Kfar Sava and 5,266 nationally.

The difference between the household and per person figures reflects the average size of a city’s household. Thus, at 2,533 shekels per month the mostly Haredi city of Beit Shemesh – where the average households comprises 5.51 people, the highest among the cities – was close to the bottom.

On the balance, however, Israelis had a prosperous 2018, with average household income rising 4.3% after inflation. Tel Aviv-Jaffa (25,170 shekels) pushed Rishon Letzion (23,359) from second place in the household income rankings to third.

Cities with average household incomes lower than the Israeli national average were Haifa, Netanya, Be’er Sheva, Jerusalem, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beit Shemesh and, at the bottom, the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam (14,233 shekels).

Kfar Sava not only led the rankings for household income but also for household expenses. Average monthly household spending was 18,865 shekels, compared with a nationwide average of 16,475.

Ashdod residents spent the least on average, just 12,082 a month. That was less than two thirds what Kfar Sava households spent even though households in Ashdod were on average bigger at 3.24 members each, versus 2.87 in Kfar Sava.

The average household size nationally was 3.28 in 2018, the CBS said, but in Tel Aviv it was just 2.18.

The downward trend in home ownership, that has been underway for the last few decades, halted in 2018. Some 66.5% of all Israeli households lived in a home they owned, unchanged from the year before. From the mid-1970s until the early 2000s, the rate of home ownership had been more than 70%.

Among those who did own their home, 39% were paying a mortgage on it, down from 39.5% the year before.

Only 28% of Israeli households lived in rental housing, but in Tel Aviv-Jaffa the rate was a much higher 52.9% and Ramat Gan 45.8%. The rest of the households surveyed lived either in sheltered housing for the elderly, in homes they were not paying rent on (typically owned by close relatives) or in other arrangements.

Renters in Tel Aviv-Jaffa paid an average 4,407 shekels a month in rent, 2.5 times the average in Be’er Sheva, even though the average apartment in Tel Aviv-Jaffa was just 2.5 rooms to Be’er Sheva’s 3.1.

Rishion Letzion had the highest rate of car ownership, with 7.4% of all households in the city in 2018 reporting they had at least one car. Of that, 35.5% reported two or more cars.

Bnei Brak, the mostly Haredi city, had the lowest rate of car ownership: Just 33.5% of households reporting have a vehicle. It also had the lowest rate of internet connections (35.9%), television sets (14.7%) and dishwashers (7.4%).