If you are looking for the best places to live in the UK, you probably have your own ideas about which factors matter most in giving you the best quality of life for your money. uSwitch has carried out a statistical analysis of 138 different UK cities and areas, using a wide range of data for things like job prospects, income, cost of living, and even other factors that make life easier like broadband speeds and mobile phone coverage, to create a picture of the best and worst places in the UK to live.
In the uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index study, Hertfordshire came third after Edinburgh in first place and Solihull in second, and was one of the few locations whose rank stayed the same from the last time the analysis was done in 2013.
Hertfordshire has the best employment stats in all of the UK, and while it is third overall for quality of life, it ranks highest on the percentage of people employed of all of our top 10 at 78%. 43% of Hertfordshire's inhabitants work standard full time working hours, which are classified as between 35-45 hours a week. Any more than 45 hours is seen as a bad thing statistically as it implies a poor work life balance or that people need to work too many hours to make ends meet, and in Hertfordshire only 29% of people are doing this.
The gross weekly income in Hertfordshire is £550.21, which is considerably above average for the UK, and Hertfordshire's households also have the highest average disposable income of our top ten, with £21,889 per year to spend.
House prices are an area where Hertfordshire doesn't score so well against others in the top 10, with the average home selling for £293,344.50 – the highest of our top ten NUTS 1 regions. Similarly, rent is also comparatively high at £84.19, though this is actually slightly cheaper than our number one best place to live in the UK – Edinburgh.
Of course, it is expected that an area with high disposable income and high employment would have fairly high property prices, so Hertfordshire's expensive houses are not really a surprise. If you're looking to buy in Hertfordshire and need a mortgage, compare rates today.
Life expectancy figures in Hertfordshire are above average, and there is a smaller gap between men and women than in other regions, with men on average living to 81 and women to 84.
Household food bills are somewhat higher in Hertfordshire than in most other places on the top ten, at £60.10 per week – only Berkshire, which is in 6th place, is more expensive on this front, however, again, this is probably a product of the high disposable income people in the area have.
People in Hertfordshire enjoy great access to modern services, with 99% mobile phone coverage throughout the region, and average broadband speeds at a very high 29.7mbps. Compare broadband packages to ensure you're on the cheapest deal for your area.
Hertfordshire is one of the best places to live in the UK thanks to the good economic situation there, and great services.
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 .