Israel’s museums attract 7.1 million visitors per year, 88.9 percent of Israelis are satisfied with their lives, and the average monthly wage in high-tech is on the rise. These and other fascinating facts about this country were part of the annual Israel in Figures: Statistical Abstract of Israel report put together annually by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).
The document provides a numerical snapshot of the country in areas like the state of the economy, the education system, population growth, fertility rates, transportation systems, and general attitudes – among others – according to data collected in 2018 and 2017.
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The report is published every year in the run-up to Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. And it usually begins by revealing population statistics.
Israel’s population at the end of September stood at 9,092,000. CBS says that number reflects a Jewish population of 6.744 million residents (74.2 percent of the total population); 1.907 million (21.0 percent) residents from Arab communities and 441,000 (4.8 percent) residents from other minority groups, including non-Arab Christians, members of other religions, and those not classified according to religion by the Israeli Ministry of Interior.
The annual population growth rate stands at 2.1 percent. And Israel’s fertility rate stands at 3.09 children per woman, the highest in the OECD (the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) and higher than in some developing countries.
The population data show that during last year, approximately 196,000 babies were born and approximately 50,000 people died. Some 35,000 new immigrants moved to Israel.
And while the population figures are the most sought after – and garner local headlines when they’re released – the CBS data are filled with many curious factoids.
NoCamels scoured the report to find these interesting figures about Israel:
Happy and Healthy
The report shows that life expectancy in Israel stands at 84.8 years for women and 80.9 years for men. According to the World Health Organization, global life expectancy is 74.2 years for women and 69.8 for men.
It’s one thing to live a long time, and even better if you’re happy with your longevity. The CBS report shows that 88.9 percent are indeed satisfied with their lives.
In fact, Israel came in 13th in the annual United Nations World Happiness Report for 2019. The UN report ranks 156 countries on how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be, according to six key variables: GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and freedom from corruption.
And the Israeli diet is known for keeping us healthy, too. While WHO reports that 39 percent of adults aged 18 years and over are overweight and 13 percent are obese on a global scale, Israeli stats from 2017 show 15.6 percent of all persons aged 20 and over as obese.
In 2018, there were 4,360 active startup companies, according to CBS data. Of them, 458 new companies were founded last year.
The report shows about 321,400 employees worked in the high-tech sector in 2016, which translates to 9.4 percent of all employees in the economy.
The average monthly wage per employee job in high-tech was NIS 22,500, an increase of 15.8 percent during 2014-2018.
Leader in R&D
The national expenditure on civilian R&D in 2018, was NIS 65.7 billion. CBS data says that’s the equivalent of 4.9 percent in terms of percentage of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) – the highest of all OECD countries. However, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization ranks Israel second in global R&D at 4.2 percent, 0.1 percent behind Korea.
According to CBS data, 88.3 percent of the expenditure spent on civilian R&D was in the business sector.
People of the Screens
We may be known as People of the Book but we’re also the People of the Screens.
As of 2017, there were 1,596 publishers in Israel that circulated 8,462 titles (books and pamphlets). That’s about 1,074 titles per one million inhabitants. To put that number in perspective, Britain – which holds the top spot for most titles published per capita – circulated 2,710 titles per million inhabitants, according to the International Publishers Association.
Israelis are known to love their news fix. But only about 5.8 percent of households purchased daily papers last year.
It would seem more people are watching the news than reading it. About 59.1 percent of households had subscriptions to cable or satellite television (2017).
And even more seem to be reading whatever needs to be known on the internet. In Israel last year, about 72.5 percent of people aged 20 and over use a computer and 83.7 percent of people aged 20 and over use the internet. According to Internet World Stats, 79.7 percent of the entire population uses the Internet.
And Israel holds the dubious honor of spending the most time on social networks, a whopping 11 hours daily, according to comScore, an American marketing research company. The world average, according to the report, is six hours.
This may be a little country but there were 3.5 million motor vehicles sharing space on the roadways last year, with 85.2 percent of them private cars. Some 4.4 million people are licensed to drive.
Unfortunately, being licensed to drive and having road manners are not one and the same. CBS reported there were 12,557 accidents — 66.5 percent of the accidents occurred during the day and 23.2 percent of the accidents involved hitting a pedestrian.
Last year, 316 died in car accidents and 2,166 were seriously injured. Since the establishment of the state, 31,258 people have been killed in road accidents.
As for road rage, it isn’t new, but it is a challenge. Some 51.7 percent of all people aged 20 and over reported being on the receiving end of road aggression. The silver lining, perhaps, is that Israel’s road rage is not the worst in the world. The BBC published a list of the countries with the worst road rage: South Africa took the top spot (67 percent of motorists say they were victimized by road rage), Great Britain took second place and Greece was third on the unsavory list.
The OECD average statutory salary for teachers is $44,397. In Israel, the average monthly wage among teaching staff was NIS 11,612 ($3,280) in 2017 – or, $39,360, according to the CBS report.
There were about 179,000 teaching staff in the entire education system in the school year of 2018/19, compared to 175,000 in the school year of 2017/18 (an increase of 2.3 percent), according to the report.
The report shows that the rate of recruitment of new teaching staff into the education system is on the rise, from about 7,500 on average in 2008-2010 to about 11,500 on average in 2017-2019. That said, 7,050 teaching staff left the education system in 2016, compared with 6,064 in 2015.
In 2018, there were 266,800 students at universities, academic colleges, and academic colleges of education in Israel. Of them, 193,400 were undergrad students, 60,400 grad students, and 11,600 were doctoral students.
Some 83,100 academics received degrees last year: first degrees – 51,300; second degrees – 25,300; and third degrees – 1,600.
Moreover, 59,100 students took part in short-cycle tertiary education (non-academic). And 50,500 students were enrolled in vocational training courses supervised by the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services (2017), of them 31,000 entitled to a certificate.
In 2018, the OECD listed Israel as the 3rd most educated country in the world in adult education.
Mecca of Museums
There are at least 163 museums (according to 2016 statistics in the CBS report) across this country teeming with exhibits on the themes of art, history, heritage, science, nature, Holocaust, Judaica, archaeology and multidisciplinary issues.
The Tourism Ministry puts the number of museums at over 200, and says Israel has the highest number of museums per capita. That detail was even a clue in the New York Times crossword puzzle in June 2019.
Regardless of the exact number, this country clearly takes culture seriously. According to CBS, there are 7.1 million annual visits to these museums.
Viva Sarah Press is a journalist and speaker. She writes and talks about the creativity and innovation taking place in Israel and beyond. www.vivaspress.com