The UK has a lot of very different places to live, and choosing a location can make a big difference in terms of what your overall quality of life could be like if you are looking to move to a new part of the United Kingdom.
In order to rank the different statistical regions of the UK in terms of overall standard of living, uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index has taken into account stats relating to various key factors like unemployment rates, weekly cost of living, average household income and even life expectancy, to discover which are the best and worst places to live in the UK in 2015.
While Wales doesn't have any regions or cities listed in the 10 best places to live, sadly, it does appear in the 10 worst, with the Central Valleys NUTS region, which includes Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taff, listed as the 8th worst place to live in the UK. It has dropped 10 places from the last study of this kind in 2013 to 131st out of 138.
Here are some of the stats that give the Central Valleys such a poor score:
One of the biggest factors in terms of quality of life is the ease of finding employment, as this affects the general economic state of the area and affects even those who aren't in the job market themselves like retirees and self employed people. In the Central Valleys region of Wales, only 68% of people are employed, which is a very bad statistic for the area.
Weekly gross income in the Central Valleys is also among the lowest of the 138 regions in uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index, at £439.75. Each household also only has an average disposable income of just £14,126 per year, which is pretty low by UK standards.
House prices appear low, with the average in 2015 at £91,250. For renters, however, the story is quite different, with rent per week at an average of £72.59, which is higher than many of the other places in our list of the 10 worst places to live in the UK.
Life expectancy in the Central Valleys is about average for England and Wales, at 77 for men and 81 for women.
Food bills are not exceptionally high or low with a weekly household grocery shop averaging £55.30. Dual fuel bills are also fairly average for the UK at £1,252.72 per year, though the low incomes and high rent may cause people in the Central Valleys to really feel the pinch.
Other Important Factors
The Central Valleys performed badly on some other areas that were taken into account in uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index. For one thing, people here get very low broadband speeds compared to the average, at just 12.1Mbps. Also, only 79% of the region has mobile phone signal. Broadband speeds can vary accross different regions - make sure you're getting the best deal for your home.
As you can see, there are a number of stats that contribute to why the Central Valleys is currently one of the worst places to live in the UK.
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 .