Statistical Report on Ultra-Orthodox Society in Israel


Standard of Living

Chap. 3

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Poverty Rates

The prevalence of poverty is far greater among the ultra-Orthodox than among the general population. In 2016, almost half (45%) of ultra-Orthodox families were living in poverty, as compared with 11% of other Jewish families. However, after a decade in which the percentage of ultra-Orthodox families living in poverty ranged between 50% and 58%, we can see a decline in the poverty rate 

Income and Expenditures

Standard of living is closely linked to households' levels of income and expenditures. In 2016, the gross monthly income of an ultra-Orthodox family averaged NIS 13,650 - far lower than that among other Jewish households (NIS 20,876). This low income level can be attributed to the fact that the ultra-Orthodox nuclear family often depends upon a single breadwinner who is likely to spend fewer hours on the job in a lower-paying job, and to their relatively modest capital and pension savings. 

Nevertheless, the rates of poverty among the ultra-Orthodox, declined slightly –from 49% in 2015 to 45% in 2016, due to an average increase in income from work of 1,000 NIS per month between those years, and as a result of an increase in government financial support for Yeshiva and Kollel students. Surprisingly, despite relatively low income, 70% of the ultra-Orthodox population over the age of 20, is “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their economic situation. 

A look at monthly expenditures reveals that the monthly per capita expenditures among the ultra-Orthodox is less than half among the rest of the Jewish population (NIS 2,658 as compared with NIS 5,635), despite the fact that on the average - ultra-Orthodox families are larger. For example, in 2016 - monthly expenditures of an ultra-Orthodox family averaged NIS 14,357 - 12% less than among other Jewish households. 

Car and Home Ownership

Gaps between the two populations - the ultra-Orthodox and other Jews - can also be seen with regard to ownership of a car (in 2016-2017: 42% among the ultra-Orthodox and 80% among other Jews) and in the use of public transportation for travel to work (ultra-Orthodox -35%; other Jews -19%), The only area in which we found full parity between the two groups was in home ownership (74% in both).