The UK is divided into 138 lower tier statistical regions, called NUTS 3 regions, which are used for data gathering and analytics that can give all kinds of information when analysed.
uSwitch has used a wide range of this kind of data to try and establish where the best and worst places are to live in the UK.
By using information relating to things like average incomes, employment rates, house prices, the cost of living, and even non-financial things that affect quality of life like average broadband speeds, we were able to create uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index.
This is a 'league table' of the 138 regions ranked in order of the quality of life they, statistically at least, have to offer.
We did this study once in 2013, and then again using 2015 data in order to update the table and also get a view of where places had changed.
The Outer London - West and North West statistical region is one that has improved on our index since 2013, going up from 55th out of 138 to 33rd – placing it firmly in the top third of the places to live in the UK.
Here are some of its statistics:
Overall employment rates are not as high as you might expect for a London area, at 71%. This is lower than the places in the 10 positions above Outer London - West and North West, with the exception of 28th place Coventry, and also lower than 34th place Leicestershire CC and Rutland.
Additionally, there is a very high 27% of the population here working over 45 hours a week, which is a poor work life balance indicator, and that is not a positive for quality of life.
Incomes are far above average here, with the gross weekly income of an individual in 2015 at £573.66. Disposable income is also very high. Few of the 138 regions exceeded £20k per year in disposable income per household, but in Outer London - West and North West it is at £21,539.
House prices are among the highest in the UK, with the average house in 2015 costing £386,632.21.
Life expectancy is above the UK average, and among the highest on the table, with men expected to live to 81 and women 85.
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.
Food is expensive, with the average weekly grocery shop costing £60 here, however other things are less expensive than you might expect in the South East. Premiums for car insurance cost around £485, which is less than in Warrington and Worcestershire which sit just above Outer London - West and North West on the table.
Other Important Factors
Outer London - West and North West has a surprisingly bad score for technology, with a low 91% of the area getting mobile phone signal. Broadband speeds are good, however, averaging 27.1Mbps.
Use our broadband postcode checker to see which deals and what speeds are on offer in your area.
Outer London - West and North West has some surprises in its statistics, but is an improving area in the top third of the UK 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 .