This is our league table of the best places to live in the UK, based on an index we derive from a detailed statistical analysis of data from official sources like the ONS.
As well as preparing a new league table using 2015 data, we have also made a comparison for each region to its placing last time we did this study back in 2013. This shows not only where the best parts of the UK for quality of life currently are, but also which places are improving.
Caithness & Sutherland and Ross & Cromarty in the Highlands and Islands region of Scotland is one of the regions in our study that performed better using 2015 data than it did the last time we did uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index in 2013 – coming up 26 places in our rankings from 134 to 108.
Here are some of the stats that were used for this region of Scotland in uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index:
The employment rates in Caithness & Sutherland and Ross & Cromarty are high, with 77% of the population in employment though only 39% working normal full time hours of 35 to 45 hours per week.
There are then a further 28% of people working over 45 hours a week, which is seen to be bad for quality of life. This is well above average for the UK, though this stat does trend higher in the South East than anywhere else.
Incomes are above average in Caithness & Sutherland and Ross & Cromarty with the gross weekly income of the average person there in 2015 at £493.23.
House prices are quite low in the statistical region of Caithness & Sutherland and Ross & Cromarty, with the average house in 2015 costing £111,202.67.
The life expectancy from birth in Caithness & Sutherland and Ross & Cromarty is in line with the average for Scotland as a whole, but low for the UK overall at 82 for women and 78 for men of the region.
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 living in Caithness & Sutherland and Ross & Cromarty is average for the UK with a weekly food shop for a Caithness & Sutherland and Ross & Cromarty household costing £55 – the same as in many other regions.
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Like anywhere, Caithness & Sutherland and Ross & Cromarty has its pros and cons. With relatively good employment and low house prices, it is let down by some of the worst technological infrastructure in the United Kingdom, low life expectancies, and below average full time workers.
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 .