The latest government statistics show that the vast majority of Israelis say they are satisfied with their lives, even though the country suffers from serious economic inequality, a chronic housing shortage and near-daily terror attacks.
A Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) report on government performance and the quality of life published on Wednesday finds that Israelis are most concerned about lack of housing and inadequate education.
The first comprehensive survey of its kind in Israel, the CBS relied on data from the Environmental Protection Ministry in cooperation with other ministries and the OECD, which published its findings on Israel in January, Haaretz reported.
It says the country is a global leader in areas its citizens would prefer it not be, including one of the highest rates of murder and terror victims and pollution levels among the worst in the West.
An OECD report in January report put Israel high on the world list for poverty, housing costs, poor air quality and low student achievement.
Despite it all, Israelis tell researchers that they are satisfied with their lives. In 2013, some 86 percent of adult respondents reported being very satisfied with their lives. The figure was 89 percent for Jews, 73 percent for Arabs. Even in 2002 – when the second intifada was raging, it was 82% for Jews – higher than the OECD average.
In the 2012 global survey, some 49 percent of Israelis said they expected their lives to improve, versus the 52 percent average.
When it comes to money matters, Israelis are less contented, though. Only half of all Israelis (53 percent) reported being satisfied with their financial situation. Among those aged 20-44, the figure is slightly lower (49 percent); among Arabs it’s lower still (41 percent).
The cost of housing continues to be a major burden for the average person. The report found that about half of households in the poorest 10 percent spent more than 30 percent of their net income on housing, rent or mortgage. And that number is increasing.
Yet, the Central Bureau of Statistics survey found that some 84 percent of Israelis are satisfied with their home and the area in which they live. Satisfaction rates were particularly high in the Tel Aviv suburbs Ramat Gan and Rishon Letzion – 93 percent and 88 percent, respectively – while satisfaction in Yerushalayim lagged, at 75 percent.
Some 75% of adults under age 60 reported feeling safe while walking alone at night near their homes. Not surprisingly, that figure was higher for men than for women – 84 percent versus 63 percent.
However, violent death is more common in Israel than in other OECD countries. In Israel, there were 1.8 cases of violent deaths per 100,000 residents, versus 1.3 in the OECD, not including Mexico.