If you are looking to move somewhere new in the UK, or you just want to know where the place you live in now is comparative to other UK regions, then you may find uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index an interesting resource.
We have analysed a wide range of different UK data on things that affect quality of life, like the availability of jobs, cost of everyday expenses, house and rental prices, and average incomes, for all of the United Kingdom's 138 NUTS 3 statistical regions, in order to be able to rank them in order of best to worst overall quality of life.
We have also included other factors that can affect people's experiences, like the availability of mobile phone signal, and the average broadband speeds in each region.
This is the second time this comparison and analysis has been done by uSwitch, the first having been prepared back in 2013, so using the results of our analysis on 2015 data we can also show where a given region has improved or declined in the time between the two analyses.
The Durham CC statistical region, which includes much of County Durham in the North East of England, is an area that has lost places since 2013 – 19 to be exact, dropping from being the 24th best place to live for quality of life to the 43rd in our 2015 study. Here are some of its statistics:
Durham's employment rates are slightly below those in much of the UK, at 69%. If you compare this to Cheshire West, the statistical region that sits one place above Durham CC on our table in 42nd place, their employment rate is 74%, and Buckinghamshire CC, one place below Durham, has employment of 79%.
Incomes are also fairly low in this region, at £452.10 as the gross weekly income of individuals living here. Compared to the nearest North East England region on the table, which is Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees which is in 41st place, their gross weekly income is £499.55.
By UK standards, house prices in this region are very low, averaging £108k in 2015.
The average life expectancy for men is 78, and for women 81 – slightly below average for England.
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.
Food costs are lower than average at £48 for the average household's weekly grocery shop. Insurance prices are also low at £395 for car and £208 for home on average.
Other Important Factors
Durham CC scores quite low for technology – it has low average broadband speeds of 15.6Mbps, and just 82% mobile phone coverage.
Use our broadband postcode checker to see which deals and what speeds are on offer in your area.
Everywhere has its pros and cons, and Durham's lower incomes are balanced out by a low cost of living, which is one of the reasons it still offers comparatively good quality of life and is in the top third of our 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 .