The 2019 quality of life index, based on the data from 2017, indicates that the quality of life of the non-haredi Jewish population continues to be the highest, and that of the Arab population is still the lowest. Somewhat surprisingly, the relative quality of life of the haredi population is not all that different from that of the non-haredi Jewish population, despite the significant gaps in the material standard of living. It appears that the haredi public is happy with its lot and finds satisfaction in a life of Torah study and observance alongside community life and good health. The value of the index (in a range of 0 to 1) is 0.71 for non-haredi Jews, compared to 0.64 for haredim and 0.18 for Arabs. This year the index was also calculated for previous years, in order to facilitate comparisons over time. That comparison shows that the relative position of the various population groups has not changed since 2013, and that there is some improvement in the relative quality of life of Arab society.
The quality of life index, developed in 2018 by Nitsa (Kaliner) Kasir and Dmitri Romanov, presents a comparative view of three population groups: haredim, non-haredi Jews and Arabs. The index is based on nine different aspects of life: health, welfare, education, income, employment, housing, community life, personal security and public space (local authority, public transportation and the quality of the environment). Each of these aspects is composed of five indicators that form a combination of subjective and objective perspectives.
An examination of these aspects of life reveals significant differences between the population groups. Education, income and employment are the three most significant factors in the widening of the quality of life gap between the non-haredi Jews and the other groups, and the marginal contribution of each aspect ranges between 60 and 75 percent. In other words, if the gap for just one of these aspects was closed, the quality of life gap between the population groups would narrow by that rate.
Another new calculation introduced for the first time in this publication is the presentation of the index of the change in the quality of life of each of the population groups, relative to its quality of life in 2012, which was the baseline year. All the population groups experienced improvement in their quality of life between 2012 and 2017. The non-haredi Jewish population and the Arab population had similar improvement in their quality of life. In contrast, the improvement in quality of life of the haredi public was somewhat lower. It is important to remember that the starting point for each of the population groups is different. In the past two years the improvement in the quality of life of the Arab population has gained momentum, apparently as a result of the state’s increased investment of resources in this population.
The main aspect that has contributed to the improvement in the quality of life in all the population groups is income. The marginal contribution of this aspect to the increase in quality of life from 2012 to 2017 is about 56 percent among haredim and 41 percent among non-haredi Jews. Although the marginal contribution among the Arabs is significant, it is lower, at 23 percent. Another aspect that contributed significantly to the improved quality of life among haredim and Arabs is employment. Its marginal contribution to the total change in the quality of life of the haredi public was 38 percent, and for the Arab public, 40 percent. In contrast to those figures, the marginal contribution of employment to improved quality of life among non-haredi Jews was just 5 percent.