Standard of Living
The poverty rate among the ultra-Orthodox is much higher than in the rest of the Jewish population. In 2017, almost half (43%) of ultra-Orthodox families lived below the poverty line, as compared with 11% of other Jewish families. However, poverty rates among the ultra-Orthodox are lower than in the past. After over a decade during which the percentage of ultra-Orthodox families living below the poverty line was between 50% and 58%, since 2015 there has been a steady and significant drop in these rates. This decline can be attributed to several factors: an increase in the number of ultra-Orthodox families in which at least one adult is employed; a rise in the level of income among working ultra-Orthodox adults, and in negative income tax; along with increases in the size of child benefit payments and in state support for full-time Torah students.
Poverty Rate, 2003-2017 (%)
Income and Expenditures
Standard of living is closely related to the levels of household income and expenditures. In 2017, the average gross monthly income for an ultra-Orthodox family was NIS 15,015, much lower than that among other Jewish families (NIS 22,190). However, in a single year-2017- alone there was a rise of NIS 1,050 in the average monthly income from work for ultra-Orthodox households, which can be attributed mostly to a rise in salaries of ultra-Orthodox women. This increase led to a rise of 40% in compulsory payments (such as direct and indirect taxes, compulsory health insurance and Social Security) made by ultra-Orthodox families between 2015 and 2017, but this expenditure still stands at just 43% of the equivalent expenditure in other Jewish families. A surprising finding indicates that despite their relatively low level of expenditures, 68% of ultra-Orthodox Israelis aged 20 and above is either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their financial situation.
With regard to expenditures, monthly per-capita financial expenditure among the ultra-Orthodox is less than half of that among the rest of the Jewish population r (NIS 2,135 versus NIS 4,590 per person per month), despite the fact that the average size of ultra-Orthodox households is larger. In 2017, for example, the average expenditure of an ultra-Orthodox household was NIS 14,311 per month, 18% lower than the average for other Jewish households.
Average Gross Income, 2017 (ages 25-64)
Car and Home Ownership
The gaps between Israel’s ultra-Orthodox population and the rest of its Jewish population are also evident in the access to cars: In 2018, 44% of ultra-Orthodox Jews had access to a car, compared with 81% of other Jews. The two groups are more similar when it comes to home ownership: 72% among ultra-Orthodox Jews and 74% among other Jews. However, the rate of ultra-Orthodox home ownership dropped from 79% to 72% between 2006 and 2018, while the rate among other Jews has not seen any significant change over this period.
Home Ownership, 2006-2018 (ages 20+)
Ultra-Orthodox lifestyles are in a state of flux. More and more ultra-Orthodox Israelis are using the internet, holding a driving license, and taking vacations. Thus, it can be clearly stated that despite the significant gaps that still exist between the ultra-Orthodox and the rest of the Jewish population in terms of their participation in these areas of life, there is a growing trend toward integration of the ultra-Orthodox into mainstream Israeli society.
Internet Use, 2008-2018
** The Statistical Report on Ultra-Orthodox Society in Israel is based on data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, government ministries and authorities, and the National Insurance Institute.