This ranks all of the 138 regions of the UK for general quality of life using an index derived from a range of official 2015 statistics.
We can also compare the results to the same study done in 2013, to see how things have changed.
The statistical region of Belfast – the capital of Northern Ireland - is one that has moved down the table a lot since 2013. It has dropped 82 places, going from number 22 on our list and being in our top 30 best places to live for 2013 to 104 of 138 when 2015 data was used.
Here are some of the statistics we used in our research for Belfast:
Belfast has an employment rate that is lower than average with only 68% of its people in work – this is not among the very lowest in the UK which is 59% in Liverpool, but it is comparatively low. Full time employment rates, however, are closer to average at 44%.
Incomes in Belfast are very good with the average gross weekly income for Belfast individuals in 2015 at £508.60. Household annual disposable income in Belfast is fairly low comparatively, however, at £15,049.
House prices are very low in the statistical region of Belfast, particularly for one of the UK's main cities, with the average house in 2015 costing £128,500.
The average life expectancy for both men and women is well below average for the UK in Belfast – among the lowest in the whole of the UK for men.
Male life expectancy here is 75, and female life expectancy is 81. This is the biggest gap between men and women in the UK at six years – most places have a gap of four.
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 food in Belfast is among the highest in the whole of the UK at £63 for a weekly household grocery shop – even in the UK's most expensive region for most things – Inner London – West – food bills are lower at £60. Petrol is average in Belfast at 117p, however.
Other Important Factors
Belfast performs exceptionally well when it comes to the communication factors that are important for modern life. It gets 99% coverage from mobile phone networks, and its average broadband speeds are among the highest in the UK at 33.6Mbps – an important stat for those who need good technology for their general quality of life or for work.
How do your broadband speeds stack up against your neighbours? Test them with our broadand speed checker.
Belfast has a few positives like excellent technology, cheap houses and reasonably good incomes, but due to things like its high cost of living and low employment statistics it still finds itself in the bottom half of our table of the best places to live in the UK, and has dropped a lot of places since 2013.
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 .