In a new index released this week by the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development, the Better Life Initiative, Israel hovers around
average compared to other OECD states, excelling in life expectancy,
education, birthrate and sense of strong community. The findings, do
however, show that in some areas, much is lacking compared to other OECD
Measuring how much room people have to live in, the
OECD measures the number of rooms per person in a household. The average
home in Israel has 1.1 rooms per person, less than the OECD average of
1.6 Also, 4.4 percent of dwellings in Israel lack private access to
indoor toilets, in contrast to the OECD average of 2.5%.
Many elderly ‘fall between the cracks’
Child poverty here highest in OECD
income, Israel comes in both above and below average when compared with
OECD countries. The average household disposable income in Israel -
after taxes - is $19,456, which is lower than the OECD average of
$22,284. However, Israel is high above the OECD average for average
household wealth, although the organization's report notes several times
that data for this indicator is only available for a small number of
countries. The average household wealth, which also measures real estate
assets and the total value of a household's financial worth, is $62,684
compared to the OECD average of $36,808.
When it comes to employment, the number of working-age (15 to 64)
Israelis who have a paid job stands at 59 percent, slightly lower than
the OECD average of 65%. However, when measuring only those
participating in the workforce, Israel's unemployment rate is 1.85%,
lower than the average.
Education, however, is one of Israel's stronger points. Compared to an
OECD average of 73% high school graduation rates, Israel excels with 81%
of adults in the labor market possessing the equivalent of a high
school degree. When it comes to reading comprehension, Israel scored
lower than the average.
Other indicators measured by the OECD are less economically oriented and
attempt to measure quality of life. One such measure attempts to
determine the strength of social networks and communities. Asked if they
believe that they know someone they could rely on in a time of need,
93% of Israelis answered yes, putting Israel close to the OECD average.
When it comes to personal safety, Israel is relatively average. Three
percent of people in Israel reported falling victim to assault in the
previous 12 months, lower than the average of four percent. The homicide
rate, however, was slightly higher than the OECD average.
Among other notable findings released by the OECD in its latest report,
is that Israel has the highest fertility rate of all countries in the
OECD, with an average of 2.96 children per household. The country with
the second highest birthrate is Iceland with 2.22 children per
household, also above the average of 1.74.
Israel is also very much a country of immigrants, with 26.5% of the
population being foreign-born, coming in second behind Luxembourg. The
OECD average is 11.75%.
Another notable result for Israel found in the OECD's report is life
expectancy. The average life expectancy in Israel is 81.1 years,
exceeding the OECD average 79.3 years. However, the health findings were
not all positive. Israelis ranked the 6th lowest life experiences in
the OECD - feeling well-rested, being treated with respect, smiling,
experiencing enjoyment. Also, more Israelis reported negative
experiences (pain, worry, sadness, stress and depression) than any other
country in the OECD.
Also reflecting negatively, Israel has the second highest income poverty
rate in the OECD, coming in only behind Mexico. While the OECD average
of income poverty is 11.1%, one in five - 20% - of Israelis qualify as
living in poverty. In addition, 39% of Israelis "find it difficult or
very difficult to live on their current income," a much higher rate than
the average 24%.
Finally, only 36 percent of Israelis believe that their communities are
tolerant places for ethnic minorities, migrants and gays and lesbians,
ranking fourth lowest in the OECD and far below the average of 61%.