These factors all have a big impact on the overall quality of life people living in different parts of the UK can expect. If you are looking for the best place to move to in the UK, or simply want to know how where you live stacks up against the rest of the United Kingdom at the moment, uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index has compared all 138 NUTS 1 statistical regions and ranked them in order from best to worst.
While Scotland features prominently in the top 10 best places to live, with Edinburgh in the number one spot and both north and south Lanarkshire also making the top ten, Eilean Siar, or the Western Isles as it is also known, is ranked as the fourth worst place to like in the UK when analysed across a number of quality of life factors like employment, cost of living, average income and life expectancy.
Here are some of the statistics that explain why Eilean Siar is one of the worst places to live in the UK in 2015:
Employment in the Western Isles is actually in fairly good shape compared to national UK averages, with 77% of people in work.
However, 25% of people are working what could be considered to be too many hours, at over 45 per week.
Incomes on these isles is fairly low, though not among the very lowest in the UK.
The average weekly gross income is £445.50, which is fairly close to other places in our worst 10 places to live in the UK list like Devon and South Teesside. Disposable income is around £15,392 per household for the year.
House prices are reasonably low in comparison to the 138 places considered in uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index at £90,608, though rent is perhaps higher than may be expected for a lower income area with low house prices at £65 per week.
Life expectancy is lower than in many of the places we looked at for this study, at 77 for men and 80 for women, however this is not a dramatic difference, with the highest life expectancies in the UK not going above 84 for women.
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.
Weekly food expenditure is an average of £54.80, which is fairly average, and dual fuel costs are about the same as mainland Scotland averaging £1,209.
Surprisingly, considering the small, remote islands of Eilean Siar, car and home insurance premiums are also the same as in Scottish locations from our best places to live top 10 like Edinburgh and South Lanarkshire..
If you want to check you’re on the cheapest energy deal head over to our energy comparison page.
Other Important Factors
While there is nothing in the above stats out of the ordinary, one thing that sets Eilean Siar apart from other fairly low income places and makes it one of the 10 worst places to live in the UK is the lack of reliable modern services.
Average broadband speeds are a paltry 5.3Mbps, and there is only mobile phone signal on 29% of the land in the area.
Use our broadband postcode checker to see which deals and what speeds are on offer in your area.
These stats show why Eilean Siar is one of the most difficult places to live in in 2015 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 .