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Poverty Report Expected to Show Decline in Elderly Poor

By Ruth Sinai, Haaretz


January 25, 2007

The National Insurance Institute will release its semi-annual poverty report today. If various hints dropped in the Knesset recently by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert are correct, there should be evidence of some improvement since the last report, partly due to a reduction in the number of elderly Israelis who are defined as poor.

The report, which covers the second half of 2005 and the first half of 2006, reflects increases made during this period to certain types of state allowances. In the last report, published five months ago, the percentage of old people defined as poor dropped from 25.1 percent to 24.4 percent, following an increase to old-age stipends in mid-2005. NII officials had predicted a steeper drop in poverty among the elderly.

The new report should also reflect, in part, the adjustment made to all NII subsidies in January, 2006, the first since 2001. Allowances for the elderly and for widows and widowers increased by 1.8 percent, while all other allowances increased by 2.7 percent.

By the end of 2005, the number of Israelis living beneath the poverty line had reached 1,630,500, representing 24.7 percent of the total population. Of these, 768,000 were children, representing 35.2 percent of all Israeli children.

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