Skip to main content
Menu
Sky in Britain

Best Place to Live 2015:Edinburgh Ranks 1st

Affordable living costs? High salaries and fast broadband? It's not impossible; it's Edinburgh

That's right — the Scottish capital came out on top in uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index, which assessed more than 130 UK cities for 26 different lifestyle factors including working hours, life expectancy, hours of sunshine, food and energy bills, disposable income and more.

It was a major victory for the city, which rocketed 97 places from 2013 to the No. 1 spot in 2015. Not only does Edinburgh have the lowest reported crime rate in the entire UK, it boasts cheap energy bills, an average salary of £29,558, a disposable income average of £20,083 and super-fast broadband speeds of 30Mbs.

What's behind Scotland's rise in life quality?

Jumping nearly 100 spots in two years, the Scottish capital pushed England's Solihull off the top spot easily. Meanwhile, more than half of Scotland's regions enjoyed improved rankings — seven of the top spot jumpers were north of the border.

"Edinburgh has long been a city that's inpsired; a vibrant city with striking architecture and a world-famous festival, all surrounded by stunning scenery," sums up Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch.

"And while Edinburgh sits proudly at the top of the spire, Scotland as a whole is the star performer, with its regions easily making the biggest climbs in the ranks this year."

Top 10 Best Places to Live in the UK 2015

2015 Rank Region Rank Change from 2013
1 Edinburgh +97
2 Solihull -1
3 Hertfordshire No Change
4 Northumberland +4
5 South Lanarkshire +55
6 Berkshire +3
7 Darlington +18
8 North Lanarkshire +98
9 York +6
10 Inverclyde, East Renfrewshire & Renfrewshire +102

Worst Place to Live in the UK 2015

There unfortunately can't be a "best" without a "worst", and that title went to Bradford in 2015.

This city, along with Hull, scored lowest when it came to disposable income, while also suffering from high unemployment, high rents and overcrowded schools, placing it in last place — #138.

How did England plummet to the doldrums?

While Scotland's regions climbed ever higher in rankings, England's areas slipped closer and closer to the bottom of the bunch: 16 out of the 20 farthest-falling regions were in England.

Liverpool had the lowest employment rate of any region in the entire UK at 59%, while West Londoners worked the hardest — 41% work 45 hours per week or more on average. Nottingham residents pay the highest council taxes — £1,676 per year!

But it wasn't all bad news for England. Women in South East England's Buckinghamshire enjoy the longest life expectancy at 85 years, while men in Surrey took the longest life expectancy with 81.5 years.

Further, the title for richest region goes to West London with a high average full-time salary of £35,464 and a high average annual gross disposable income of £39,602.

Bottom 10 Places to Live in the UK 2015

2015 Rank Region Rank Change from 2013
128 Sandwell -25
129 South Teesside -36
130 East of Northern Ireland -91
131 Central Valleys -10
132 Devon -46
133 Blackpool -16
134 West & South of Northern Ireland -75
135 Eilean Siar (Western Isles) -15
136 North of Northern Ireland -68
137 Kingston Upon Hull -7
138 Bradford -43

More to life than rankings

At uSwitch, we know that there is more to life than rankings, stats and figures, and our Qualify of Life Index merely highlights the vast differences in the experiences of people across the UK.

Whether you're living in the best city or the worst, millions of households in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland face financial struggles including rising energy bills and credit card debt. That's why it's more important than ever for households to assess their budgets, and uSwitch.com offers a great way to start.

Below you can find ways to save on everything from car insurance to mobile bills.

Compare energy

Compare broadband

Compare credit cards

Compare mortgages

Compare car insurance

Compare mobiles

Place to Live 2015 — Where did your region rank?

2015 Rank Region Rank Change from 2013
1 Edinburgh +97
2 Solihull -1
3 Hertfordshire No Change
4 Northumberland +4
5 South Lanarkshire +55
6 Berkshire +3
7 Darlington +18
8 North Lanarkshire +98
9 York +6
10 Inverclyde, East Renfrewshire & Renfrewshire +102
11 Surrey -6
12 South Nottinghamshire -8
13 Central Bedfordshire +18
14 Wirral +13
15 Outer London - South +3
16 Warwickshire -10
17 Bath & North East Somerset; North Somerset & South Gloucestershire +3
18 Hampshire -5
19 Orkney Islands +86
20 Cheshire East -8
21 Tyneside -7
22 West Cumbria +41
23 Derby +14
24 Cornwall & Isles of Scilly +42
25 East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire; Helensburgh & Lomond +59
26 North Yorkshire -24
27 Swindon -8
28 Coventry +36
29 Aberdeen City & Aberdeenshire +46
30 Calerdale & Kirklees +12
31 Worcestshire +13
32 Warrington -4
33 Outer London North & West +22
34 Leicestershire & Rutland +6
35 Birmingham +38
36 Falkirk +75
37 Sunderland -11
38 East Lothian & Midlothian +90
39 Cambridgshire -9
40 Telford & Wrekin +1
41 Hartlepool & Stockton-on-Tees +14
42 Cheshire West -26
43 Durham -19
44 Buckinghamshire -33
45 Gwynedd +81
46 Bournemouth & Poole +34
47 Bristol +25
48 Sheffield -19
49 Walsall +41
50 West Northamptonshire +11
51 Glasgow +84
52 Flintshire & Wrexham +60
53 Oxfordshire -43
54 Scottish Borders +83
55 Gloucestershire -48
56 Sefton -8
57 Staffordshire -19
58 Conwy & Denbighshire +71
59 Plymouth +30
60 Greater Manchester North -11
61 [joint] Leeds -26
61 [joint] Perth & Kinross and Sterling +41
63 Southend-on-Sea +22
64 South & West Derbyshire -44
65 Portsmouth -14
66 Dorset -23
67 Peterborough +52
68 Essex -15
69 Shropshire -33
70 Medway -19
71 West Sussex -48
72 Swansea +37
73 Bedford -27
74 Herefordshire +4
75 Outer London - North & East +8
76 North Northamptonshire +1
77 Wolverhampton +2
78 Wiltshire -44
79 West Lothian +46
80 East Derbyshire +17
81 South Ayrshire +26
82 Isle of Anglesey +6
83 Stoke-on-Trent +25
84 Inner London - East +15
85 Angus & Dundee City +46
86 Wakefield -55
87 Inner London - West +14
88 Cardiff & Vale of Glamorgan +27
89 East Riding of Yorkshire -73
90 Powys -21
91 East Merseyside -20
92 North Nottingham -5
93 Luton +23
94 Outer Belfast -33
95 Lincolnshire -45
96 East Cumbria -31
97 Milton Keynes -40
98 South West Wales -6
99 Southampton +1
100 Greater Manchester South -42
101 Leicester +21
102 Nottingham +8
103 Kent -58
104 Belfast -82
105 Norfolk -29
106 Lancashire -73
107 Lochaber, Skye & Lochalsh, Arran & Cumbrae, Argyll & Bute +29
108 Caithness & Sutherland; Ross & Cromarty +26
109 Brighton & Hove -35
110 Liverpool -16
111 Suffolk -44
112 Shetland Islands -31
113 Thurrock -22
114 Bridgend & North Port Talbot -18
115 Blackburn With Darwen -1
116 Iverness & Nairn & Moray; Badenoch & Strathspey +16
117 East Sussex -47
118 East Ayrshire & North Aryshire (Mainland) +20
119 Torbay +4
120 North & North East Lincolnshire -73
121 Monmouthshire & Newport -3
122 Barnsley, Doncaster & Rotherham -68
123 Clackmannashire & Fife +10
124 Isle of Wight -20
125 [joint] Gwent Valleys -1
125 [joint] Somerset -43
127 Dumfries &Galloway No Change
128 Sandwell -25
129 South Teesside -36
130 East of Northern Ireland -91
131 Central Valleys -10
132 Devon -46
133 Blackpool -16
134 West & South of Northern Ireland -75
135 Eilean Siar (Western Isles) -15
136 North of Northern Ireland -68
137 Kingston Upon Hull -7
138 Bradford -43

About the research

The uSwitch.com study assessed 138 local areas (NUTS3 regions) for 26 factors such as salaries, disposable household income, and the cost of essential goods including food bills, fuel costs and energy bills. The study also factored in lifestyle issues like hours of sunshine, working hours and life expectancy to ensure a full picture of the quality of life in each NUTS3 region.

For more about the study's methodology, read the full press release .