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Kfar Saba ranks 1st for quality of life in national survey; Jerusalem last

Central Bureau of Statistics study evaluates 52 indices like housing density and life expectancy in 16 major cities across Israel

People wear protective face masks in Jerusalem, April 30, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
People wear protective face masks in Jerusalem, April 30, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The central Israeli town of Kfar Saba came in first in a national survey by the Central Bureau of Statistics ranking quality of life indications across Israel in cities of over 100,000 residents. Jerusalem, the capital, ranked last.

The 2020 survey, released last week, evaluated responses to 52 quality of life indices across different categories in 16 major cities in Israel: Kfar Saba, Rehovot, Ramat Gan, Rishon Lezion, Beersheba, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Holon, Netanya, Petah Tikva, Haifa, Beit Shemesh, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Bnei Brak, Bat Yam, and Jerusalem.

The indices included life expectancy, infant mortality rates, housing density, water quality, satisfaction with the residential areas, satisfaction with parks and green spaces in the residential areas, internet use rates, recycling rates, and general trust and confidence in others.

Kfar Saba, which lies between Ra’anana and Hod Hasharon, led most of the indices, ranking first in life expectancy (84.9 years), housing density (0.7 people per room, compared with 0.86 for the cities’ average), satisfaction with the residential areas (95.5%), and satisfaction with parks and green spaces (83.9%).

Rehovot, south of Tel Aviv near Rishon Lezion and Ramle, was the runner-up in the survey, leading with the percentage of residents who displayed a general satisfaction with life (97.5%). The city also had the highest percentage of employees who felt their job broadly matched their field of study (77.8%) and allowed for promotion (57.9%). Trust in the health system and the lowest percentage of residents who were bothered by external noise in their home were also key to Rehovot’s position in the survey. Interestingly, not a single traffic accident death was reported in the city in 2020.

Ramat Gan, which abuts Tel Aviv, had the lowest rate of infant mortality (one death per 1,000 live births compared to a national average of 2.8), the highest number of residents who felt trust in the justice system (67.5%), the highest rate of internet use (97.5%), the most frequent use of online government services (60.6%), and the highest percentage of waste transferred to recycling (41.1% compared to a 22.2% average).

Israelis shop at the Ayalon Mall in Ramat Gan after it reopened following the country’s third coronavirus lockdown, February 21, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Rishon Lezion, Israel’s fifth-largest city, came out on top as the safest city to walk alone in at night with 88.9% of residents indicating they felt safe doing so, according to the survey. The city scored lower on satisfaction with public transportation (33.1%) and high expectations for the future (38.7%, compared to the 53.1% average).

According to the survey, Tel Aviv had the highest employment rate (69.4% compared with the 59.1% average), the highest percentage of children earning matriculation certificates (71.1%), and the highest rates of access to a computer (88.7%). The city, recently crowned the world’s most expensive, also had the highest number of residents who were paying 30% or more of their income for housing (46.4% compared with the average 29.5%), who felt little trust in the government, and who felt satisfied with their work-life balance.

Other notable results of the survey included that the central city of Petah Tikva had the lowest percentages of residents feeling loneliness, depression, and discrimination. The mixed northern coastal city of Haifa, Israel’s third-largest city, had the highest percentage of people who felt satisfied with their housing costs.

People stand in line to be tested for the coronavirus in Tel Aviv, on January 4, 2022 (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Jerusalem fared poorly in most of the quality of life indices, including the number of residents who were feeling depressed (20.3% compared to the 22.9% average), but ranked higher than average in water quality. Given the capital’s population composition, there was a significant gap between the percentage of Jews who felt satisfied with their lives (96%) and the percentage of Arab residents who felt the same (75%).

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