uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index is a metric derived from analysis of data about all different aspects of British life, such as employment rates, house prices, the cost of essentials, and even other things that are important for modern life like broadband speeds. Using this data we are able to rank the 138 statistical regions in the UK from which offers the best quality of life, to which offers the worst.
This is the second time uSwitch have done this analysis, with the first index being based on 2013 data. Now, we have repeated the analysis with 2015 data, allowing us to see where the best places to live in the UK are in 2015 as well as to analyse which areas have improved and which have declined in the past two years.
As England's second largest city, Birmingham is a statistical region on its own, and is one that has improved in statistical terms since 2013, rising up our table from 73rd place to 35th, meaning it is now in the top third of the UK for quality of life.
Here are some of Birmingham's key quality of life statistics:
For overall employment, Birmingham actually has the worst stats in the top half of the table with just 62% of its population employed. In fact, you have to go all the way down to 100th place Greater Manchester – South to find somewhere with an employment rate this low, and to 110th place Liverpool to find somewhere with lower employment.
Incomes in Birmingham are on the high side of the average, with the gross weekly income of Birmingham individuals at £502.90 in 2015. Disposable income, however, is low, with the average household having just £13,575 to spend.
House prices in Birmingham are low, especially for a major city. The average house in Birmingham in 2015 sold for £137,500. Rent, however, is above average at £76 per person, per week.
Life expectancy doesn't differ dramatically across the UK but Birmingham's is lower than many other UK regions at 78 for men and 82 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 the weekly grocery shop for the average Birmingham household is close to average at £54. Petrol prices, however, are among the highest in the UK at 127p, and car insurance is also expensive at £540.80 so it's a bad city for motorists.
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
Birmingham scores very well on technology, with 99% of the city able to receive mobile phone signal, and high broadband speeds of 28.8Mbps.
Use our broadband postcode checker to see which deals and what speeds are on offer in your area.
Birmingham has some negatives, in terms of high unemployment and low disposable income, as well as high costs for drivers. However, it scores well for services and house prices, keeping it in the top third of the table.
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 .