Despite War and Terrorism, Poverty and Inequality, Israel Scores Low on Misery Index

Israel is the 54th least miserable country to live in, while U.S. ranks 49th.

A picture shows a bed and graffiti inside street artist Banksy's newly opened Walled Off hotel in the Israeli occupied West Bank town of Bethlehem, on March 3, 2017.
Thomas Coex, AFP

War and terrorism, poverty and inequality. Despite all that, it turns out Israel isn’t such a miserable place after all, if you take into account just two factors — inflation and unemployment.

The Bloomberg Misery Index, which rates 65 countries around the world, for how they are managing with prices and jobs ranked Israel as 57th most miserable — that is, the eighth least miserable economy in the world, right up there with Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and Singapore.

Israel’s projected misery index was just 5.6 points, based on Bloomberg’s estimate that inflation will be about 0.75% this year and the jobless rate about 4.9%. In 2016, Israel’s actual misery ranking was 4.2, putting it in 54th place.

In its December forecast, the Bank of Israel estimated inflation in 2017 would be 1% (slightly above the Bloomberg forecast) and unemployment at 4.6% (slightly below).

For the sake of comparison, the No. 1 country in the Bloomberg 2017 ranking was Venezuela, whose index was 499.7, leagues ahead of any other country and the leader for the third year in a row. South Africa, which ranked No. 2, was at just 32.2. The United States had an index of 7 and ranked 49th.

Thailand was the winner of the Bloomberg ranking this year, with an index of 2.6, although Bloomberg attributed that largely due to its “unique way of calculating employment.”