The United Kingdom, while it may look fairly small to people from other places, is a hugely diverse place, with big differences in terms of what it is like to live in different cities and regions.
It is also a place that can be subject to rapid change, so places that offered poor job prospects at one time could, for example, be much better in terms of unemployment rates a couple of years later.
To get a good picture of where the best and worst places to live are in the UK in 2015, uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index has taken into account a wide range of data relating to the 138 different NUTS 1 statistical regions of the UK, including things like life expectancy, income, living expenses, and even things like broadband speed and mobile phone signal coverage!
We were not only able to use this data to work out where each region ranks in terms of quality of life, but also how it compared to its results from the last time this study was performed in 2013, giving a good picture of which regions are improving or deteriorating.
One of the surprise entrants on the list of the 10 worst places to live was Devon CC – the statistical region that includes all of Devon except for Plymouth and Torbay.
Devon has fallen 46 places since 2013, and is now the 7th worst place to live, statistically speaking, in the UK. Here are some of the reasons:
Devon's overall employment situation doesn't look too bad when you consider that 77% of people are employed, however only 35% are working what are considered normal full time hours of 35-45 per week.
This suggests that while there is work to be had, finding stable full time jobs is harder than the employment stats may first make it seem.
Income in Devon is quite low at £440.51 gross per week, though the average household does end up with a respectable £17,434 in disposable income every year.
Property and rental prices are one of the biggest reasons why Devon can be a difficult place to live in.
Despite low earnings and lack of full time work, houses still cost on average £208,493.75, and rent is also high at £77.94 on average per week.
Life expectancy is above average in Devon, which is one of its positives. Men are expected to live to be 80, with women 84.
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.
Living costs can be quite high in Devon, with petrol at a high price of 120.4 pence on average in 2015, and food shopping for a household coming in a just under £60 per week, which is on the higher end even among the 10 worst places to live in uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index.
Other Important Factors
Devon has some quite rural areas included in its boundaries, and so it may not be a surprise that it is not the most convenient of places for communication technology.
Use our broadband postcode checker to see deals and what speeds are on offer in your area.
Devon has a lot of things that are attractive about it, but in economic and convenience terms, it is one of the worst places to live in the UK in 2015.
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 .