How's life in Israel?

Relative to other OECD countries, Israel’s average performance across the different well-being dimensions is mixed. Average earnings are comparatively low, and 15% of employees regularly work very long hours, one of the highest shares in the OECD. In 2016, 69% of the Israeli population aged 15-64 was in employment, slightly above the OECD average of 67%, while the long-term unemployment rate was among the lowest in the OECD (0.5% in 2016, compared to around 2% in the OECD on average). Labour market insecurity and job strain are also both better than the OECD average. At 82 years, life expectancy at birth in Israel is 2 years higher than the OECD average. A high share of Israelis report good levels of perceived health, although these data are not fully comparable with those of the other OECD countries, due to a difference in the reporting scale. Environmental quality is an area of comparative weakness, in terms of both air pollution and water quality. Social support also stands below the OECD average.

Figure 5.16. Israel’s average level of current well-being: Comparative strengths and weaknesses

Note : This chart shows Israel’s relative strengths and weaknesses in well-being when compared with other OECD countries. For both positive and negative indicators (such as homicides, marked with an “*”), longer bars always indicate better outcomes (i.e. higher well-being), whereas shorter bars always indicate worse outcomes (lower well-being). If data are missing for any given indicator, the relevant segment of the circle is shaded in white.


Change in Israel’s average well-being over the past 10 years




Income and wealth

[No time series data available]


Jobs and earnings

The employment rate has risen by 6.3 percentage points since 2005. Real earnings fell gradually from 2007 to 2010, but following a considerable improvement since then, they now stand 10% above their pre-crisis levels. Labour market insecurity has gradually fallen over the past decade, and is now well below half its 2005 level. The long-term unemployment rate has fallen slightly from its 2012 level (the latest year for which comparable data are available), while job strain also improved, with the share of people affected falling from 39% in 2005 to 32% in 2015.

Housing conditions

The average number of rooms per person has remained relatively stable over the past decade, at around 1.1.

Work-life balance

The incidence of long working hours has improved, with the percentage of employees working 50 hours or more per week falling from 19% in 2012 to 15% in 2016 (comparable data are not available prior to 2012).

Health status

Life expectancy at birth has increased by just under a year since 2009 (the earliest year for which comparable data are available). The percentage of adults reporting to be in “good” or “very good” health has also increased, by 7 points since 2005.

Education and skills

The 10-year change in upper secondary educational attainment cannot be assessed, due to a recent break in the data. However, between 2014 and 2016, attainment rates in Israel increased by just over 1 percentage point.

Social connections

The share of people who have relatives or friends whom they can count on to help in case of need has seen little change over the decade.

Civic engagement

Contrary to the OECD average trend, voter turnout in Israel has increased by 9 percentage points since 2006, reaching 72% in the 2015 parliamentary elections.

Environmental quality

The percentage of Israelis satisfied with their local water quality is currently 9 points higher than 10 years ago. However, annual exposure to PM2.5 air pollution has increased strongly in the past decade and in 2013 was almost one-third higher than in 2005.

Personal security

Deaths due to assault have fallen from 3.3 per 100 000 people in 2005 to 1.7 in 2014. On the other hand, feelings of safety when walking alone at night are broadly unchanged from their levels 10 years ago, close to the OECD average of 69%.

Subjective well-being

Life satisfaction has remained relatively stable over the past decade in Israel.

Note : For each indicator in every dimension: ➚ refers to an improvement; ↔ indicates little or no change; and ➘ signals deterioration. This is based on a comparison of the starting year (2005 in most cases) and the latest available year (usually 2015 or 2016). The order of the arrows shown in column three corresponds to that of the indicators mentioned in column two.

Israel’s resources and risks for future well-being: Illustrative indicators