First of Zion: Rishon is Israel’s best city to live in, statistics bureau finds

Data shows highest quality life is available in the cities of central Israel

Illustrative: An aerial view of Rishon Lezion, on December 17, 2019. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)
Illustrative: An aerial view of Rishon Lezion, on December 17, 2019. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Tel Aviv-adjacent Rishon Lezion offers the best quality of life of any Israeli city, according to a survey carried out by the Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS).

The review used 86 indicators to assess everything from employment prospects and high school graduation scores, through housing and parks access, to internet literacy and feelings of satisfaction and loneliness, across 16 cities, each with more than 100,000 residents.

Data was gathered through 2021, and Rishon Lezion beat the national average on 35 measures. The city — located in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area and founded by Russian immigrants in 1882 — led the pack in terms of satisfaction with homes and the overall living area, and also had the highest scores for chances for promotion at work, for appreciation by family members, and for the percentage of internet users. The city also scored lowest in terms of feelings of depression and isolation.

Other cities that scored particularly high across the full range of quality of life measures included Petah Tikva, which led in cleanliness of residential areas; Netanya, for the low cost of housing services; and Ashkelon, ranked second in terms of general satisfaction with life.

Rehovot residents are most likely to be satisfied with their income and to trust the health care system, while Ramat Gan has the lowest long-term unemployment rate, the highest trust in the legal system and the greatest use of online government services. Kfar Saba has the highest median income and the lowest percentage of households that pay more than 30% of their net monthly salary for housing.

Tel Aviv-Jaffa ranked high in terms of employment-related measures. But Israel’s largest metropolitan area was placed lower in measures linked to housing. The city today has the highest average apartment price in the country at just under NIS 3 million ($880,00), and in 2021, when data was being gathered, it was named the world’s most expensive city.

Haifa was placed in the middle of the group of cities, while the lowest quality of life according to the basket of measures assessed was found (in descending order) in Bnei Brak, Beersheba, Ashdod, Holon, Jerusalem and Bat Yam. Jerusalem’s overall rating was brought down by its employment rate and the percentage of teenagers graduating from high school.

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