Israel's Poor Spend Almost Half Their Income on Housing, Survey Shows

Central Bureau of Statistics' annual survey of household spending shows wide gaps between rich and poor; housing is largest single expense for Israelis, poorest 20 percent spend over a quarter of income on housing.

If any more proof was needed of the wide gaps between the rich and poor in Israel, the Central Bureau of Statistics' annual survey of household spending provides it. The top-earning 20% of Israelis spent only 13% of their income on food last year, while the bottom 20% spent 23% just to feed themselves, the stats bureau reported yesterday when releasing its spending survey for 2010.

protest, food cost, cost of living
Daniel Bar-On

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The top two deciles spend NIS 21,300 a month on consumption, including NIS 2,844 on food. This compares to NIS 8,264 in consumer spending for the bottom two deciles, who spend NIS 1,866 a month on food. Altogether, half of the spending for the poorest 20% goes to food and shelter.

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Housing is the largest single expense for Israelis, averaging NIS 3,380 a month per household. The bottom 20% spend over 25% of their income on housing. Interestingly, the best-off also spend an almost equal percentage of their spending on housing, 23%, but of course there is not much comparison between what these percentages provide. The average household spent NIS 13,500 a month in 2010, a 1% increase from 2009 after being adjusted for inflation. The biggest increase in spending between 2009 and 2010 was for food and clothing.