As most people are aware, the cost of living and average income can vary quite significantly in the UK depending on where you live.
These, among other factors that affect quality of life such as house prices or rent costs, unemployment rates, and the ease of getting important services like mobile phone signal or high speed internet have all been analysed for 138 different UK locations in uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index for 2015. This has allowed us to come up with the 10 best, and worst, places to live in the UK, and make for very interesting reading if you are looking for a good place to move to.
Darlington, in the North East of England, is one of the cities that rated very highly in our study, coming out as the 7th best place to live when all of the factors we took into account were considered. Here are some of the figures that made Darlington so high on our quality of life index:
Because different people have different priorities when it comes to what they consider important to their quality of life, data on things like broadband speeds, insurance premiums and mobile phone coverage is also used to come up with a list of the best places to live in the UK.
Here are some of the statistics that show why Darlington is a good place to move to in the UK:
Darlington has fairly high employment rates at 72% with 46% of the people working normal full time hours of between 35 and 45 hours per week. A fairly high 23% work more than 45 hours per week, however, which can be seen as an indication of a poor work-life balance for some of Darlington's residents.
Darlington has the lowest weekly gross income of the top 10 regions on our list, at £480.20, and also the lowest disposable income for households at an average £14,911 per year. Of course, this is in comparison to the other 9 best places to live in the UK. It is higher than almost all of our bottom 10, which also have higher prices and lower employment.
House prices are the second lowest of our top 10, after South Lanarkshire, at £125,000 on average. This makes them the lowest of the best places to live on our study which are in England. Rent is also low, as you might expect, with an average weekly rental cost of £67.20.
Life expectancy in Darlington is slightly above the national averages at 78 for men and 82 for women. Mortality rates in Darlington are 1059 for every 100,000 people. This makes Darlington a comparatively healthy city.
The cost of food is lower in Darlington than any of our other top 10 cities, as are petrol prices and home insurance premiums, though car insurance is slightly more expensive than the Scottish locations in our list. A household's weekly food shop costs just £48.60 in Darlington, which is very low compared to the most expensive of the top 10 best places to live, Berkshire, where it is £63.20.
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Other Important Factors
For those who value the provision of modern services like internet and mobile, Darlington rates very well compared with other places in the UK. With 98% signal coverage for phones, and a good average broadband speed of 29.5Mbps available, it is a convenient place for staying connected.
Find out how fast your broadband is with our broadband speed test.
Darlington may have lower incomes, but this is offset by low prices, and across other factors it rates very highly in terms of quality of life.
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 .