Last year, 1.534 million people in Israel lived below the poverty line, according to a National Insurance Institution (NII) poverty report released Monday. The figure indicates a significant expansion in poverty levels, with 100,000 more poor Israelis in 2004 than there were in 2003.
According to Haaretz, the report also showed that the number of poor families make up 20.3 percent of Israel's population. The number of children living in poor families has amounted to 700,000.
After six years of relative stability, 2003 marked the start of the growth of poverty rates. In that year, the number of poor families went up from 18.1 percent to 19.3 percent.