We have now repeated that analysis with new data from 2015, so we can once again rank the regions using uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index and also see which places have gone up in the rankings (and of course, which have gone down).
The South West region that incorporates Bath, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire has plenty to offer in terms of pleasant surroundings, history and charm. It also made it into our top 20 for quality of life, coming in at 17th – up three places from 20th in the 2013 study.
Here are some of the stats that put this location in 17th place:
Something all different people in the UK find key in terms of analysing overall quality of life is the job market. Employment here is high, particularly for the South West, at 77%. Additionally, only 23% of people work over 45 hours a week – something seen as bad in quality of life terms as it can indicate a poor balance between work and life.
Incomes are also fairly high here, averaging £520.40 gross per week for individuals. People here have a far higher amount of disposable income than in many lower ranking regions too, at around £18,493 per household, per year. Disposable income can be considered a very important contributor to good quality of life.
House prices are on the higher end of those in locations in our top 20, though far below what you can expect in South East regions like Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire. The average home in 2015 cost £219,983. Rent is moderate, at £78 per person per week on average.
Life expectancies here are good, with women living to an average age of 84 and men 81.
Life expectancy is an influential factor that insurance companies use to determine life insurance premiums. You can check our advice guide on how to get a cheaper life insurance policy.
The weekly food bill for the average household in this part of the South West was calculated as £60, which is on the low side for the south of England. It's bad news for drivers, however, as while insurance costs are lower than many places in our top 20, fuel costs are high averaging 118p.
Other Important Factors
The Bath, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire area has below average but not terrible average broadband speeds, at 22.8Mbps. Mobile phone coverage is reasonable at 93%, though not among the best in our top 20 – this is probably due to the region including some rural areas.
Use our broadband postcode checker to see which deals and what speeds are on offer in your area.
In consideration of standard of living, it is easy to see plenty of variation in locations within the UK, though the NUTS 1 statistical region of Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire seems to be performing quite well in the 2015 uSwitch analysis.
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.
Place to Live 2015 — Where did your region rank?
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 .