64,200 children living under the poverty line in Israel
Improvements registered within particular sectors of society largely reflect steps taken by the government, the report shows.
A rise in the minimum monthly wage in July to NIS 4,825 ($1,257) — a further rise to NIS 5,000 ($1,303) is planned for January — has combined with a 2.8 per cent rise in employment to benefit middle income earners.
An increase in in child benefits — after a cut in 2013 — led to a 1% drop in poverty among the population of children and youth, up to age 18, and — combined with a rise in income from work and a decrease in the average number of children — led to a 5.6% drop in the percentage of ultra-Orthodox Jews below the poverty line.
Welfare changes also benefited working single parent families, whose presence below the poverty line dropped by 16%.
The proportion of elderly among the poor saw a very slight 1.4% reduction (from 23.1% to 21.7%) in 2015, thanks to benefit increases for those on income support introduced in December 2015. The fruits of these increases, together with those of a further benefit included in the 2017 state budget, will be more visible in future poverty reports, the NII says.
A rise in disability allowances last year and a new children’s savings scheme due to start in January — the government will invest NIS 50 per month per child up to the age of 18, backdated to May 2015 — are also expected to have a positive impact, although the benefits of the latter will only be seen over the long term when the savings schemes are cashed.
Gross monthly income available to the average family — including benefits and compulsory payments — now stands at NIS 18,674 — $4,865 (the net salary of NIS 15,431, or $4,020 — having gone up by 2.5% compared to 2014).