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Durham castle and cathedral United Kingdom

Durham is the 43rd best place to live in the UK 2015

The UK is a hugely diverse place, and all across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, there are different levels of quality of life that people are experiencing.

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:

Employment

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%.

Income

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.

House Prices

By UK standards, house prices in this region are very low, averaging £108k in 2015.

Home values in Durham

Life Expectancy

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.

Living Costs

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.

Compare energy

Compare broadband

Compare credit cards

Compare mortgages

Compare car insurance

Compare mobiles

Place to Live 2015 — Where did your region rank?

2015 Rank Region Rank Change from 2013
1 Edinburgh +97
2 Solihull -1
3 Hertfordshire No Change
4 Northumberland +4
5 South Lanarkshire +55
6 Berkshire +3
7 Darlington +18
8 North Lanarkshire +98
9 York +6
10 Inverclyde, East Renfrewshire & Renfrewshire +102
11 Surrey -6
12 South Nottinghamshire -8
13 Central Bedfordshire +18
14 Wirral +13
15 Outer London - South +3
16 Warwickshire -10
17 Bath & North East Somerset; North Somerset & South Gloucestershire +3
18 Hampshire -5
19 Orkney Islands +86
20 Cheshire East -8
21 Tyneside -7
22 West Cumbria +41
23 Derby +14
24 Cornwall & Isles of Scilly +42
25 East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire; Helensburgh & Lomond +59
26 North Yorkshire -24
27 Swindon -8
28 Coventry +36
29 Aberdeen City & Aberdeenshire +46
30 Calerdale & Kirklees +12
31 Worcestshire +13
32 Warrington -4
33 Outer London North & West +22
34 Leicestershire & Rutland +6
35 Birmingham +38
36 Falkirk +75
37 Sunderland -11
38 East Lothian & Midlothian +90
39 Cambridgshire -9
40 Telford & Wrekin +1
41 Hartlepool & Stockton-on-Tees +14
42 Cheshire West -26
43 Durham -19
44 Buckinghamshire -33
45 Gwynedd +81
46 Bournemouth & Poole +34
47 Bristol +25
48 Sheffield -19
49 Walsall +41
50 West Northamptonshire +11
51 Glasgow +84
52 Flintshire & Wrexham +60
53 Oxfordshire -43
54 Scottish Borders +83
55 Gloucestershire -48
56 Sefton -8
57 Staffordshire -19
58 Conwy & Denbighshire +71
59 Plymouth +30
60 Greater Manchester North -11
61 [joint] Leeds -26
61 [joint] Perth & Kinross and Sterling +41
63 Southend-on-Sea +22
64 South & West Derbyshire -44
65 Portsmouth -14
66 Dorset -23
67 Peterborough +52
68 Essex -15
69 Shropshire -33
70 Medway -19
71 West Sussex -48
72 Swansea +37
73 Bedford -27
74 Herefordshire +4
75 Outer London - North & East +8
76 North Northamptonshire +1
77 Wolverhampton +2
78 Wiltshire -44
79 West Lothian +46
80 East Derbyshire +17
81 South Ayrshire +26
82 Isle of Anglesey +6
83 Stoke-on-Trent +25
84 Inner London - East +15
85 Angus & Dundee City +46
86 Wakefield -55
87 Inner London - West +14
88 Cardiff & Vale of Glamorgan +27
89 East Riding of Yorkshire -73
90 Powys -21
91 East Merseyside -20
92 North Nottingham -5
93 Luton +23
94 Outer Belfast -33
95 Lincolnshire -45
96 East Cumbria -31
97 Milton Keynes -40
98 South West Wales -6
99 Southampton +1
100 Greater Manchester South -42
101 Leicester +21
102 Nottingham +8
103 Kent -58
104 Belfast -82
105 Norfolk -29
106 Lancashire -73
107 Lochaber, Skye & Lochalsh, Arran & Cumbrae, Argyll & Bute +29
108 Caithness & Sutherland; Ross & Cromarty +26
109 Brighton & Hove -35
110 Liverpool -16
111 Suffolk -44
112 Shetland Islands -31
113 Thurrock -22
114 Bridgend & North Port Talbot -18
115 Blackburn With Darwen -1
116 Iverness & Nairn & Moray; Badenoch & Strathspey +16
117 East Sussex -47
118 East Ayrshire & North Aryshire (Mainland) +20
119 Torbay +4
120 North & North East Lincolnshire -73
121 Monmouthshire & Newport -3
122 Barnsley, Doncaster & Rotherham -68
123 Clackmannashire & Fife +10
124 Isle of Wight -20
125 [joint] Gwent Valleys -1
125 [joint] Somerset -43
127 Dumfries &Galloway No Change
128 Sandwell -25
129 South Teesside -36
130 East of Northern Ireland -91
131 Central Valleys -10
132 Devon -46
133 Blackpool -16
134 West & South of Northern Ireland -75
135 Eilean Siar (Western Isles) -15
136 North of Northern Ireland -68
137 Kingston Upon Hull -7
138 Bradford -43

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 .