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    Poverty rates down, but not enough

    The poverty report for 2010, which was released this month, paints a grim picture even though the number of poor in the country has dropped. Welfare and Social Services Minister Moshe Kahlon in a joint press conference with National Insurance Institute Director General Esther Dominissini said on Thursday "The general picture is bleak..Slightly less than 20% of the families in Israel are poor. A third of all children are poor." According to the annual Poverty and Social Gaps Report, in 2010 433,300 families lived under the poverty line. The poor households were comprised of 1,733,400 individuals, 837,000 of whom were children. The poverty rate dropped from 20.5% in 2009 to 19.8%. The percentage of poor kids dropped from 36.45% to 35.3%. A slight drop has registered in the percentage of the elderly poor, which went from 20.1% in 2009 to 19.6%. But the data showed that those who remained under the poverty line found themselves worse off than the previous year. In the Arab sector, the poverty rate among working families remain largely unchanged, dropping from 13.4% to 13.2%. Despite the reductions in the rates, the report indicates that working, poor families across the board have plunged into a deeper state of destitution compared to the previous year.