In terms of expected quality of life, we certainly have considerable diversity within the different cities and regions of England, Scotland, Wales and NI.
While the UK may look small, it is a place with a huge amount of variety, from major cities to rural areas, coastal towns and even remote islands! With every different place comes a unique social culture, and an individual economy and job market, and this makes everywhere different when it comes to quality of life. This can make it tough to know, if you are looking to move, what life will be like in a new part of the UK.
If you are currently looking to relocate, or you would just be interested to see how the place you live in now stacks up when compared to the rest of the UK, uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index is an interesting study that uses 2015 data to rank the 138 statistical regions of the United Kingdom from best to worst for general quality of life.
To calculate this index, we used data for all kinds of important things like employment rates and salaries, the cost of accommodation and other essentials, and also less economic factors like technology.
In addition to using this research to create a ranking for 2015, we have also compared our 2015 findings to our previous, similar study from 2013, to give an indication of places that have improved or deteriorated for quality of life in that two year period.
Bedford is a region that has lost places on uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index, falling from 46 to 73 – a drop of 27 places. Here are some of the statistics for Bedford:
Bedford has high overall employment rates, with 79% of its inhabitants employed, but only 41% employed full time.
Incomes are above average in Bedford with the gross weekly income of the average person there in 2015 at £493.70. Disposable income is also slightly above average with the average Bedford household having £17,465 available to spend for a year.
House prices are on the high side, though not exceptionally so for the South of England. The average Bedford home sold for £205k in 2015. Rent is very high compared to average values at £84 per week.
Life expectancies are just above UK wide average statistics at 80 for men and 84 for women.
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 cost of feeding your household in the Bedford region is very high, comparatively, at £60 per week for food and non alcoholic drinks. Car insurance is more costly than average too, at £525.20.
Even though, the insurance premiums are high, there are certain steps you can take to find the best car insurance deals for you.
Other Important Factors
Bedford has mediocre statistics for communication technology, with 91% mobile phone coverage, and broadband speeds averaging 26.1Mbps.
Use our broadband postcode checker to see which deals and what speeds are on offer in your area.
Bedford has a high cost of living, but also has some positives that offset this to some degree like good employment rates and incomes.
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 .