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sunset at giant causeway in north antrim in northern ireland

North of northern ireland is now the 3rd worst places to live in the uk

People look for a lot of different things when it comes to quality of life, including how far their money goes, how easy it is to make a good living, and how convenient everyday life is. In order to work out where the best and worst places to live in the UK in 2015 are, uSwitch have conducted a Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index study once again, allowing us to compare not only 138 different UK regions and cities on a range of quality of life data, but also to see which areas have improved or deteriorated since our last analysis in 2013.

The North of Northern Ireland has shown some major decline in terms of the statistics we use, which relate to all kinds of things from house and rent prices and unemployment, to mobile phone signal coverage and broadband speeds. Falling a huge 68 places from its ranking in 2013, the North of Northern Ireland is now the 3rd worst place to live in the UK. Here are some of the reasons why:

Employment

The North of Northern Ireland has some serious unemployment issues at the moment, with only 59% of its people in work. As well as that, 23% of the population of Northern Ireland have to work over 45 hours a week, which is considered above the healthy full time amount.

Income

Income in the region is low, in addition to jobs being hard to come by. This is one of the few areas in uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index where the weekly gross income is under £400, at £397.70. Disposable income is also very low by UK wide standards, at £12,910 per household per year.

House Prices

While house prices are low, at an average in 2015 of £84,132.50, rent is not so cheap, with average rentals at £75.68 a week – much higher than most other places in our list of the top 10 worst places to live for 2015.

Home values in North Down

Life Expectancy

Life expectancy is at the lower end of the scale for the 138 NUTS 1 statistical regions in the study, at 77 for men and 80 for women.

Living Costs

Despite low incomes, the north of Northern Ireland is quite an expensive place to live. Dual fuel costs are high at £1,850 per year – considerably higher than most places in the study.

Try our free mortgage calculator to see how much you could afford to borrow.

Other Important Factors

Some other negative factors affecting the North of Northern Ireland include access to modern services like mobile phone signal. Only 62% of the region has network signal, and also, broadband internet speeds are fairly low at 22.7Mbps. Only remote islands like Eilean Siar have worse stats for communication in the UK.

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The high cost of living and low employment are the main reasons why the North of Northern Ireland scores so poorly, however other things like low mobile phone coverage also make life less convenient, which is why it is in our list of the worst places to live 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.

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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 .