The Experience of Material and Emotional Hardship in Israel: Do Some Groups Cope Better than Others?

Alisa C. Lewin, Haya Stier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While official poverty measures tend to focus on income alone, measures of material hardship also incorporate aspects of need. Families experience material hardship when they have difficulty paying bills or buying things the household needs, such as food, medicine and medical care. The current study develops four measures of material and emotional hardship and focusses on two groups that have high risks of poverty in Israel, namely Israeli–Palestinians and Ultra-orthodox Jews—Haredim, and compares them with the non-Haredi Jewish majority. Comparing Israeli–Palestinians, Haredim and non-Haredi Jews provides an opportunity to study the intersection of poverty and group membership. Group membership may affect hardship because groups differ in living conditions, poverty histories, social networks, access to resources, and perceptions of needs. The study draws on Israel’s 2013 Social Survey, conducted by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (n = 7438). The findings point to substantial degrees of inequality among the disadvantaged. Although Haredim and Palestinians have similar levels of income-poverty, the study shows that the consequences of low-income in terms of deprivation and hardship are more severe among Israeli–Palestinians than among (Haredi and non-Haredi) Jews. Israeli–Palestinians experience higher levels of material and emotional hardship than Haredim after controlling for household income.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-402
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Economic hardship
  • Emotional hardship
  • Israel
  • Material deprivation
  • Material hardship
  • Poverty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


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