CBS: Household Spending Slowed in Last Two Years

By comparison, between 2003 and 2009, spending by households rose 13.5%, according to an index created by the CBS.

Growth of household spending slowed in 2010 and 2011 as consumers cut their budgets on clothing, housing, food, education and culture, the Central Bureau of Statistics said yesterday.

Relative spending on household appliances, furniture and health rose during the three years, but all told, household spending edged up just 0.9% in the period, the CBS said. By comparison, between 2003 and 2009, spending by households rose 13.5%, according to an index created by the CBS.

The average household in Israel spent NIS 13,967 last year on goods and services, almost unchanged after inflation from NIS 13,496 in 2010.

On average, a quarter of monthly spending went to housing, or NIS 3,501, followed by transportation and communications, which averaged 20.2% to NIS 2,810 a month, the CBS said. Food came next at NIS 2,251, or 16.1% of the average household budget.

The monthly spending of the top 20% of households in 2011 was 2.5 times greater than that of the bottom 20%, the CBS said. The richest one-fifth of households spent an average of NIS 20,866 every month versus NIS 8,848 for the bottom fifth.

The multiplier in comparative spending by rich and poor was even larger for certain categories - 4.3 times for transportation and communications and 3.3 times for education.

For basic items such as food and clothing, the CBS found that the gap was narrower - at 1.5 times and 2.1 times, respectively.

The bottom 20% dedicated 42.7% of their monthly household spending to food and housing while the top spent 37.5% on these basics.

More than 70% of all Israeli households had computers, Internet and cellphones last year. At a 77% rate for computer ownership, Israel ranked in the middle range of countries belonging to the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ).

But the rate of ownership of computers and Internet varied considerably by income in Israel. Among the highest-spending 20% of households, 94.3% had computers and 54.4% had two or more. Among the bottom 20%, computer ownership fell to 55.8%, the CBS found. Some 91.4% of the biggest spending households had Internet, versus 38.6% for the bottom 20%.

Close to 94% of all Israeli households had a cellphone.

The one communications technology that saw its usage decline in the last decade was cable and satellite television, whose rate of subscriptions fell to just under 62% of all households last year, from 72.2% in 2002, the peak year in this category.

The reason is that large numbers of households had a digital converter or satellite dish without a cable or satellite subscription, the CBS said.

Among the top 20% households, 94.2% had one car and 49.7% had two or more. Among the bottom fifth, only 20.9% had a car and just 1.9% two cars, the CBS found.

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Dan Keinan