01/02/2016
Secretary-General Ángel Gurría (r) presents OECD report to Minister Gabbay Photo: Kobi Gidon
OECD Report: Israelis Satisfied with Life, Health, but Want Better Environment and Housing
Secretary-General Ángel Gurría (r) presents OECD report to Minister Gabbay
Photo: Kobi Gidon
OECD Secretary-General Ángel Gurría has presented a report on quality of life in Israel, prepared by the organization. The report, released on Jan. 31, 2016, found that Israelis are more satisfied with life than people in many other OECD countries, particularly in the areas of life expectancy, health, and educational achievements. Israel, however, ranks below OECD average when it comes to air quality,  housing, and poverty. The report complements a report published by the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MoEP) in April 2014, entitled: Well-Being Indicators for Israel, which evaluated and ranks what issues matter most to Israelis.

​The OECD report, Measuring and Assessing Well-Being in Israel, is the first comprehensive report prepared by the global organization about one of its member states.

Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabbay: "The OECD says air quality [in Israel] is the second most important issue to Israelis (after income). We are pleased that in line with that, this is the issue at the center of what we do at the MoEP."

OECD Secretary-General Ángel Gurría noted that growth is not only about numbers, but also about empowering citizens, fulfilling their aspirations, and having inspiration. There is no room for complacency, he warned, adding that Israel must strengthen its efforts to provide quality of life for all its citizens, and that the OECD is prepared to help with that.

In terms of the financial situation, while Israel’s employment rate is slightly above average among OECD countries, the national disposable income for citizens and satisfaction with the cost of living are below average. In addition, a high rate of Israelis work more than 50 hours per week, so they have less time for leisure and family. The average Israeli works a 40.9 hour week, more than the OECD average of 38.4 hours per week.

Arabs and Ultra-Orthodox Populations
An important section of the report compares quality of life among different population groups, including Arab and ultra-Orthodox populations, who will make up 40% of the Israeli population by 2034.

According to the data, the Arab population is below average, in all quality of life indices: Arabs are poorer, less employed, less healthy, and less educated. These factors affect quality of life of the Arab population, and vice-versa. For example, lower education rates make it difficult for Arabs to find profitable work.

While the ultra-Orthodox also suffer from high levels of poverty, high unemployment, and less education, they tend to report greater satisfaction with their lives, their financial situation, housing,  and health.

This indicates that, should these factors (poverty, employment, education, health) be dealt with in the Arab sector, there is great potential to improve the overall quality of life in the country.