Some 35.5 percent of families living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip live below the poverty line, according to a recent survey by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).
According to the survey, conducted in December 2003, some 44.7 percent of households in the Gaza Strip and 31 percent of households in the West Bank live in poverty. Refugee camps have the highest incidence of poverty overall. About one out of two households in refugee camps are poor.
Since the beginning of the Intifada in September 2000, the standard of living among the Palestinian community has deteriorated in a great deal, and the economy has lost more than a third of its value, PCBS said in a press release.
Data collection for the PCBS survey is based on a random sample of 3,725 households, of which 3,127 households completed the interview. Some 1,899 of the participants reside in the West Bank and 1,228 in the Gaza Strip.
The classification of households living below or above the poverty line was determined by the official poverty line established in 1997 by the National Commision for Poverty Alleviation. Both consumption and monthly income data was used to calculate and analyze poverty rates.
The relative poverty line and the absolute poverty line for a six-member household in the Palestinian Territories for December 2003 stood at 1,800 Israeli shekels ($ 396) and NIS 1,482 ($325) respectively.
Households relying on public assistance as their main source of income are much worse off compared to households with income from employment, the survey said. Many families who are employed also rely public assistance as a supplementary measure. This is indeed the case for the short-term poor, particularly those vulnerable to the erratic changes in the labor market. — (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )