Israel: Poor infrastructure
Photo: AP
France: Top dog
Photo: Dana Zimmerman
Somalia: In last place
Photo: Reuters
Israel ranked 47th in standard of living index
France comes first, Somalia last in International Living magazine's ranking of 194 states using range of criteria, editors' opinions

Malta, Hungary, Lithuania, Slovenia, Costa Rica, Poland, Latvia, Bulgaria and Mexico – these are just some of the countries whose residents enjoy a higher standard of living than Israelis, according to a survey published Wednesday by International Living magazine. France won first place, while Somalia came last.


Each year the magazine ranks the standard of living in 194 states. "To produce this annual Index we consider, for each of these countries, nine categories: cost of living, culture and leisure, economy, environment, freedom, health, infrastructure, safety and risk, and climate," the magazine explains. The magazine weights official data as released by governments and international organizations, but also takes into account the opinions of its editors around the world.


This is the fifth time in a row that France has won first place in the standard of living index. This is no surprise, as the stifling bureaucracy and the high taxes pale in comparison to the unrivaled standard of living, including an excellent health service, the magazine writes, noting that France wins according to almost all the criteria.


Australia has come in second, because of its amazing landscapes and its lively city culture, according to the magazine. Then comes Switzerland which has managed to use all its natural resources to its own advantage. The last of the top 10, in descending order, are Germany, New Zealand, Luxembourg, the US, Belgium, Canada and Italy.


Israel is ranked 47th, just after Mexico but in front of Iceland which has suffered the worst financial crisis in its history. Israel received an overall score of 67 out of 100. For the sake of comparison, Cyprus and Bulgaria scored 68, while France scored 82.


Israel's low ranking is mainly the result of its poor infrastructure, which got just 36 points, and its high cost of living, which scored 39. In other categories Israel also failed to shine: 61 for economy, 68 for environment, and 71 for safety. Higher scores were given for culture and leisure (83), climate (84), health (85) and freedom (92).


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