While quality of life may not all be about where you are, it is certainly true that there is a lot of difference around the UK in terms of things that impact quality of life like the balance between financial incomings and outgoings.
To help get a handle on where the best places to live in the UK for quality of life are, uSwitch have prepared uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index, the product of a detailed statistical analysis of the different regions of the United Kingdom across a whole range of factors relating to jobs, expenses, and even the convenience of everyday life.
Because we first did this study in 2013, and have now updated it with data from 2015, we are also now able to compare the tables created from both results and determine where in the UK has seen an improvement in quality of life, and where has seen a decline.
An area that has shown improvement in statistics since 2013 in terms of our quality of life data is the NUTS 3 statistical region of Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees in the North East of England.
It has gone up from 55th out of 138 statistical regions in the UK to narrowly miss out on a place in our top 40 best places to live at number 41. Here are some of the statistics that were used for Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees:
Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees has a lower than average rate of employment, with only 68% of its population working, and only 43% of them in full time employment.
Incomes, however, are above average by UK wide standards with the average person in Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees having a gross weekly income of £499.55 – just a few pence shy of £500 – per week. Disposable income is on the low side of average at £15,321 per household for the year.
House prices are low in Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees (compared with the whole of the UK), with the average house sold in 2015 costing £126k. Rent is also on the low side, averaging £68 per week.
Compared with the rest of England and the UK as a whole, Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees has slightly low life expectancy, at 78 for men and 82 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.
The cost of living is below UK averages on all of the categories that were used. A weekly grocery shop in Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees costs just £49, and petrol prices are also comparatively low at 116p. Car insurance is low at £395, and home insurance too at £208.
Other Important Factors
One area where Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees really excels is in communication technology – an important thing for many people. It has some of the best broadband speeds in the UK at 32.1Mbps, and 98% mobile phone signal coverage.
Use our broadband postcode checker to see which deals and what speeds are on offer in your area.
Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees has its pros and cons, like anywhere, but still made the top third of our table for 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 .