CBS: Elderly Poverty Still a Big Problem

Half the senior citizens 75 years or older have had to seek assistance from the government, statistics show.

Moshe Cohen,

Elderly Israelis in Jerusalem
Elderly Israelis in Jerusalem
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The average senior citizen 75 years or older in Israel spends about NIS 7,400 per month, the Central Bureau of Statistics said Monday – and about half of them asked for assistance from authorities last year.

The CBS released the data prior to United Nations' International Day of Older Persons, set to take place on October 1. The data showed that seniors of that age spent quite a bit more – NIS 3,000 – for per capita needs, mostly due to increased medical attention, medicines and treatment, and other health-related needs.

A recent study by the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel said that Israel's elderly have the highest poverty rates in terms of disposable income as compared to the other countries that are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Many of the recent elderly immigrants from former Soviet Union countries and from Eastern Europe have low or non-existent pensions, a major factor in the statistics, the report said. Exacerbating the problem is the fact that Israelis are generally expected to rely on private pensions, with government pensions relatively low as compared to OECD countries, the report said.

A 2012 report showed that the overall number of people living in poverty in Israel dropped by one-half of a percent, but that 440,000 homes remain under the poverty line. Poverty increased by 3% among the elderly, reaching a rate of 23%. More than 180,000 elderly Israelis are living under the poverty line.

Over 45% of those living in poverty in 2012 were children. A total of 817,200 children were living under the poverty line during the year.




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