The Secret to Israeli Happiness: Community and Meaning, Not Wealth
Official data reveals that residents of cities listed as having the ‘lowest standard of living’ actually report a greater sense of communal belonging than their more affluent counterparts.
By Assaf Golan, Israel Hayom via JNS
The results of a recent survey conducted by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) illustrate the adage that “money can’t buy happiness.”
The CBS analyzed 16 cities based on their standard of living. The cities were divided into three categories.
The first category includes the cities with the highest standard of living: Kfar Saba, Ramat Gan, Rehovot, Tel Aviv-Jaffa and Rishon Lezion. The second group included Holon, Beersheba, Petach Tikvah, Haifa, Netanya and Bnei Brak, all ranked as cities with a mid-level quality of life. The third group consisted of Beit Shemesh, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Bat Yam and Jerusalem, whose living standards the CBS ranked lowest.
The first five cities stand out for employment, housing density, ability to be promoted at work, access to computers and more possibility of professional advancement for women. The investment in the cities’ appearance was evident as well, with an emphasis on parks, sanitation and the environment.
The research reveals a large gap between the affluent cities and those from the third category.
The residents of Beit Shemesh, for example, reported the highest trust in the healthcare system and a sense of belonging, thanks to family members and volunteer work. Ashkelon boasted the most people over the age of 30 with higher education. Ashdod reported the highest level of security in the cybersphere. Bat Yam had the lowest infant-mortality rate, and its residents reported the highest satisfaction with the transportation system and trust in the government.
Jerusalem residents reported the lowest levels of loneliness and depression.
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.
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