Top cities ranked for quality of life in Israel – with some surprising results

Out of the 16 largest cities in Israel, Rishon LeZion boasts the highest quality of life. At least this is what the CBS ranking found, which weighs 52 different indices – including satisfaction associated with the home and neighborhood, income level, and sense of security. Tel Aviv has high matriculation rates but also excessive levels of noise. Jerusalemites enjoy a great work-life balance, but with that, see a high rate of unemployment.

As every year, in early January, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) published a ranking of the quality of life in the 16 largest cities in Israel, with a population of more than 100,000 people. This is in accordance with 52 different control indices measured throughout 2021. In a way that may come as a surprise, Tel Aviv, which has gained a worldwide reputation as a sought-after city, is not among the cities at the top of the rankings. 

The group of cities that received a higher-than-average score in the quality of life indices are (in descending order) Rishon LeZion, Rehovot, Ramat Gan, Kfar Saba, Petah Tikva, Netanya, and Ashkelon. The cities that received a medium overall score are Tel Aviv-Yafo, Haifa, and Beit Shemesh.  While the cities that received a lower-than-average score are Bnei Brak, Beersheba, Ashdod, Holon, Jerusalem, and Bat Yam.


Rishon Lezion, first in the ranking for quality of life, is the fourth largest city in Israel, located in the southern part of the Dan region in the center of the country. It currently has a population of about 260,000 people. In almost all quality of life indicators, the city is above average relative to other cities. Among other things, Rishon LeZion was ranked first for housing, neighborhood, parks, and green areas in residential areas, percentage of internet users, percentage of employed persons with prospers for promotion, and lowest percentage of residents who feel a sense of depression or loneliness.

Rehovot maintained the second place in which it was also ranked last year. It leads in the percentage of employed persons who are satisfied with income and in the level of confidence in the health system. In third place, Ramat Gan leads with the lowest prolonged unemployment rate, the lowest infant mortality rate, a sense of security in the dark, life expectancy, trust in the judicial system, and a sense of ability to cope with problems.

Kfar Saba, located in the relatively well-established Sharon region, was ranked first last year and dropped this year to fourth place. It leads in the median income index and in the lowest percentage of households 30% or more of their monetary income paying for housing. In 2021, there were no fatalities in road accidents in the city and there were no findings of coliform bacteria in the drinking water.

For the first time, Petah Tikvah, Netanya, and Ashkelon were included in the group of cities in Israel whose quality of life indices are higher than the average. Petah Tikva leads in satisfaction with cleanliness, and in the lowest percentages of feelings of loneliness and depression. Netanya leads in the lowest percentage of housing expenses from total income. Ashkelon ranks second in terms of satisfaction with parks and green areas in the residential area and life satisfaction.

But the interesting story in the current ranking is Tel Aviv. In the previous ranking, the city was ranked sixth, although not at the top, but still belonged to the group of cities ranked significantly above the average. Now it has slipped to 8th place and entered the group of medium-sized cities.

Indeed, it still leads in an impressive series of indicators, such as the employment rate, the percentage of employed persons whose position corresponds to their field of study, the rate of bagrut qualifications, and civic involvement, and it has the lowest percentage of dissatisfaction with the length of time to get to work (not surprising considering the huge concentration of employment areas in the city).

At the same time, a number of significant indicators pulled it down: the share of families spending more than 30% on housing is significantly higher than the national average. So is the level of noise suffered by the residents. Another negative indicator is the quality of drinking water. The level of trust in the government in the city is also low.

Jerusalem, which was ranked 15th out of 16 cities in Israel, rose one step in the ranking compared to last year, when it was ranked last for quality of life. Its situation was not as good as the national average in terms of median income, employment rate, economic satisfaction, satisfaction with parks and green areas in residential places, and general confidence. However, despite its low ranking, there is satisfaction with Jerusalem’s efforts in waste recycling, the percentage of women in management in the public sector, and in the balance between work and other areas of life. The quality of drinking water in the city is also excellent.

As mentioned, the ranking was made only for the 16 largest cities in Israel, where more than 100,000 people live. In 2021, two more cities joined the club – Herzliya, and Hedra – but the CBS explained that in the current index, which is based on data from that year, they are not yet included. Very soon, Modi’in, whose population currently stands at 97,000, is also expected to join the rankings and will probably be included in the index starting in two or three years.

The contents of this article are designed to provide the reader with general information and not to serve as legal or other professional advice for a particular transaction. Readers are advised to obtain advice from qualified professionals prior to entering into any transaction.

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