Israel ranks 40th in global prosperity rankings

Israel ranks 40th out of 142 countries polled by the 2012 Legatum Prosperity Index, behind the likes of Hungary, Kuwait and Costa Rica.

November 6, 2012 21:58
2 minute read.
Child with Israel flag

Child with Israel flag 370. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Israel ranks 40th out of 142 countries polled by the 2012 Legatum Prosperity Index, behind the likes of Hungary, Kuwait and Costa Rica.

The index, created by the London- based Legatum Institute, attempts to create a picture of prosperity beyond GDP figures. It gave Israel strong marks for economy, governance, entrepreneurship, social capital, health and education, but punished it on safety and personal freedoms.

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Israel placed 29th in the economy category, thanks partly to strong macroeconomic figures and partly to the positive sentiment of its citizens. Israelis were more satisfied with their living standards than the average global citizen (67.8 percent versus 62.8%), more confident about being able to find a job (39.1% vs 34.6%) and had far better access to adequate food and shelter (89.2% vs 76.5%).

Despite its reputation as the “Start-up Nation,” Israel ranked just 31st for entrepreneurship and opportunity. The index recognized it for its high rate of R&D expenditure, but stripped points for the public’s surprising lack of confidence.

Only 52.9% of Israelis surveyed for the index believed that their country is a good place for entrepreneurs to start a business, while 74.3% agreed that they could get ahead by working hard.

On safety and security, Israel ranked 115th, below Egypt, Tunisia and South Africa. Far more Israelis felt safer walking alone at night than South Africans (60.5% vs 38.3%), and far less reported having property stolen in the past year (10.5% vs 30.3%). However, Israel performed poorly in the subcategories of instability resulting from “group grievances” and “demographic pressures,” factors that the index says limit GDP growth.

Israel and Syria inexplicably received the same mark for the subcategory of “civil-war casualties,” perhaps indicating that the index’s authors have created their own definition of civil war and that they desperately need to read the latest updates on Syria’s internal conflict, which estimate that more than 36,000 people have been killed in 20 months of fighting.


On personal freedoms, Israel ranked 118th. It performed above the global average on civil liberties.

However, only 56.1% of Israelis said they were satisfied with their freedom of choice, 50.1% said their country was a good place to live for ethnic minorities, and 38.5% said it was a good place to live for immigrants.

Israel’s best showing was in the category of social capital, where it finished 22nd. Israelis were more likely to donate money, volunteer their time, be married and trust the people around them than the global average.

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