Want a long life? Move to Ra'anana

Ra'anana's men and women live an average of 83.7 years.

raanana houses 88 (photo credit: Courtesty)
raanana houses 88
(photo credit: Courtesty)
If you want to live longer than anyone else in Israel, go live in Ra'anana; if you don't mind a shorter-than-average life expectancy, move to Nazareth. Arabs generally have lower life expectancies and higher infant mortality rates than their Jewish counterparts, but they are much less likely to contract cancer. Those are some of the statistics just released in a joint publication of the Health Ministry and the Central Bureau of Statistics, which studied socioeconomic and health data covering 1998 to 2002. The study, which updates the previous one covering 1993 to 1997, found that of the 30 largest cities and towns in Israel (with populations over 50,000), Ra'anana has the highest longevity rates: Its men and women live an average of 83.7 years. Nazareth was the lowest, with an average of 75.77 years. Fifteen places with Jewish populations - including Maccabim-Reut, Givatayim and Ramat Gan (compared to just nine places in the previous report) had such low fertility rates that women produced fewer than two children on average. But 20 locations had fertility rates higher than four children per woman (compared to 10 in the previous report). The most fecund towns are Elad, Modi'in Illit and Betar (haredi towns), and Rahat and Tel Sheva (Arab), where the average woman produced seven children. The Jerusalem district boasted a very high longevity (80.1 years), while the southern district had the lowest (77.3). The higher the socioeconomic scale of a town or settlement, the longer its residents live, on average. But there were exceptions to this rule: Jerusalem, Bnei Brak and Beit Shemesh are not rich, but their residents have higher longevity rates. Except for Sderot and Kiryat Malachi, which are Jewish development towns, the highest mortality rates were all in Arab towns and villages, including Jisr a-Zarka, Kalansuwa, Judeida, Kafr Kara and Taiba. But the prevalence of cancer is highest in Jewish locations and lowest in Arab ones. Cancer rates were highest in the Haifa district and lowest in the Jerusalem district. Half of all deaths in Israel are due to cardiovascular disease and cancer. The lower the socioeconomic level of a town or settlement, the higher the death rate from cardiovascular diseases (apparently due to lower-quality health care, less prevention and less accessibility to treatments). At the same time, the higher the socioeconomic status of a place, the more likely residents were to die of cancer. When the researchers looked at hospitalization for mental illness, they found that the higher the socioeconomic level, the less likely its residents would be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders, apparently because those who are well off have other care options besides inpatient treatment. Psychiatric hospitalization rates were high in Nazareth, Judeida, Jisr a-Zarka, Reina and Rahat, but also in two Jewish towns, Safed and Nahariya.