More than half Israeli Arab households at risk of poverty

Kafr Qassem  credit: Eyal Izhar
Kafr Qassem credit: Eyal Izhar

Among Jewish households, the risk of poverty is just 18%, according to figures released by the Central Bureau of Statistics today.

53% of Arab households are at risk of poverty, according to a report published by the Central Bureau of Statistics today on the gap between Jewish and Arab households in Israel. The risk of poverty among Jewish households is just 18%. Fewer than 10% of the Jewish population are registered with social services, compared with 16% of Arabs.

The greatest gap is in employment: while 64% of Jewish men of working age are employed, among Arab men the proportion is just 50%. Among women the situation is even more extreme: the proportion of Jewish women in employment is 62%, while among Arab women the proportion is below one third, at 28%. The gaps are not just in the rate of employment, but also in the employment sectors. Arabs are prominent in commerce, vehicle servicing, construction and health, Jews come to the fore in administration, security, financial services, and communications - including technology.

Net household income is 51% higher for Jewish households than for Arab households, but since Arab families tend to be larger, the gap in net income per capita is even wider, at 89%. The gap is also reflected in subjective feelings: whereas 70% of Jews feel content with their economic situation, only 51% of Arabs feel that way.

One route out of poverty and towards greater social mobility is via an academic degree, and many young Arabs try to go in this direction. According to figures from the Council for Higher Education in Israel, the number of Arab students has more than doubled in the past decade, but the gap in the number of graduates is still enormous. More than one third of Israeli Jews hold an academic degree (36%), but only 16% of Israeli Arabs.

The rate of home ownership is higher in Arab society than among Jews. 63% of Jews and 73% of Arabs are owner-occupiers. The Arab-owned homes are mostly in Arab towns and villages, and are worth only NIS 1.1 million on average, whereas the average Jewish-owned home is worth NIS 2.3 million. It is worth mentioning, though, that more than a quarter of the Arab population lives in mixed settlements, such as Jerusalem, Akko, Nof Hagalil, Ramla, and Lod.

The wave of murders in Israeli Arab society, with more than 103 people killed so far this year, puts a spotlight on the question of personal security. Just 7.5% of Jews fear a violent attack in their neighborhoods, whereas for Arabs the proportion is almost 20%. Interestingly, while in the Jewish population women are much more fearful of violence than men, in the Arab population it is the men who are fear violence against them more.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on June 19, 2023.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2023.

Kafr Qassem  credit: Eyal Izhar
Kafr Qassem credit: Eyal Izhar
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