Israel ranks third in Europe, coming just behind the two most expensive countries in Europe – Switzerland and Norway – for the price of food, household essentials and toiletries. But while Israelis pay through the nose for basic goods, they fall far behind when it comes to salaries, ranking 13th on a scale of wages in Europe.
The data comes from an international study conducted by market researchers Nielsen. The study was conducted in the last quarter of 2014 among 30,000 consumers worldwide, including 500 Israelis.
According to the study, the average cost in Europe for a monthly purchase of essentials is approximately NIS 1,520, while the average in Israel is approximately NIS 1,930 - 22% higher.
Even so, Israelis can only envy the workforce in countries such as Denmark, England, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, whose earning capacity is higher, while prices are lower. In seven countries with a lower average salary than Israel - such as Turkey, Hungary, Romania and Poland – the cost of basic goods is proportionately lower.
The authors of the study found that when it comes to the ratio between income and expenditure, "Israel is among the worst places."
The study shows that the average expenditure on groceries in Israel is approximately NIS 1,930, similar to Denmark, but salaries in Denmark are 75% higher, with an average wage of almost NIS 14 thousand per month. In England, where the average wage is approximately NIS 11,500 a month, the monthly shop costs just NIS 1,600.
Israelis across the country staged a series of demonstrations in 2011 over the cost of living, taking to the streets to protest high living and housing prices and low salaries. The protests, which saw Israelis erecting tents in the heart of Tel Aviv, led to the creation of a committee to investigate the issue.
The committee was headed by esteemed economist (and Zionist Union's candidate for finance minister) Manuel Trajtenberg; its findings were only partially implemented due to political differences in the government.