Choosing the best place to live can be difficult when you are looking to move, because even if you have narrowed it down to a particular part of England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, there is still a lot of diversity between even neighbouring cities and regions when it comes to overall quality of life.
To help simplify your search, we have created uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index. This is a study uSwitch regularly carry out on data for a wide range of things that relate to quality of life, for all of the 138 official statistical regions in the UK.
Our latest study on 2015 data shows where the best places to live in the UK are right now, and we can also compare these findings to our league table from 2013 to see how a given place has improved or declined for general quality of life in that time period.
Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, a statistical region which includes the largest city in Wales, is a location that has shown significant improvement on the uSwitch index since 2013, going from 115th place to a better (though still bottom half) position at 88 in 2015. This is an improvement of 27 places.
Here are some of the statistics we used for Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan:
Employment overall is reasonably low in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, with 69% of the people who live there employed. 47% of people are in full time employment, which for the purposes of this study means working standard hours of 35-45 hours per week, and a further 21% are also full time employed but can be shown to be 'overworking', that is working for more than 45 hours on a regular basis.
Incomes are also fairly good in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, though not exceptional, with £477.90 as the gross weekly income of individuals living here in 2015.
When compared with the UK as a whole, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan has moderately low house prices – averaging out at £173,812 in 2015. Rent is expensive, however, at £81 per person, per week.
Life expectancy statistics in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan are in line with UK average figures, with men expected to live to 79 and women to 83.
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 Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan is fairly average, with a weekly grocery shop for a family here in 2015 coming to £55 on average. Petrol prices are average at 117p.
Other Important Factors
Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan's statistics for technology are good, but not exceptional, with around 96% of the region getting mobile phone signal, and above average broadband internet speeds of 27.65Mbps.
Use our broadband postcode checker to see which deals and what speeds are on offer in your area.
In consideration of wellbeing and quality of life, there is certainly considerable variation in all parts of the United Kingdom. Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan certainly has some benefits, though the balance between incomes and outgoings is not sufficient enough to push it into the top half 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 .