A new report by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics has revealed that Palestinians spend more than one third of their income on foodstuffs and only 1.5% on recreation and 3% on personal care.
The report showed that household consumption on necessities was greater than a third of total average household spending in the Palestinian Territories. The next biggest expenditure group was transport and communication at 15.2%.
The report also showed that there was an increase of 17.4% in expenditure based on current prices in the West Bank in 2010 from 2009 and a slight decrease in Gaza. The figures in the report verify the conclusion of a World Bank report stating 9% plus growth levels for the West Bank in 2010.
Average expenditure in the West Bank was higher, at 993 JD (Jordanian Dinars – approximately equivalent to the US dollar), then Gaza, which was 680 JD for the period. Average household size for the West Bank is 5.7 while it is 6.6 in Gaza.
The figures showed that average expenditure on tobacco was 38.7 JD which significantly exceeded expenditure on education (31.4 JD), personal care (24.4 JD) and recreational activities (13.4 JD).
High prices in the Palestinian Territories for basic foodstuffs result from the Israeli blockade and control of all imports and exports into both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Even though the West Bank has not been put under a forced closure and siege like the Gaza Strip, all goods entering the West Bank must go through Israel or Israeli-controlled checkpoints, and most goods sold in the West Bank come from Israel itself.
The average Israeli income is ten times greater than the average Palestinian income, but prices in both areas remain about the same.