Finding the right place to choose when you are looking to move in the UK can be harder than it sounds, because there is so much diversity within England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
You want to find a place where you can live comfortably and enjoy the quality of life you want, but it can be a challenge to quantify that and find the best places to live.
To help identify where quality of life is highest and lowest in the UK, we have created Uswitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index.
This is a league table that ranks the 138 statistical regions that make up England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in order of best to worst quality of life, based on an index we derived from a detailed analysis across a range of official statistics.
To determine quality of life, we used stats relating to everything from house prices and average incomes through to broadband speeds and petrol prices, to give a clear picture of which places offer a good balance and the most comfortable life.
We previously performed a similar study in 2013, and with this new analysis based on 2015 data, we are also able to see where our 138 regions have improved or deteriorated in quality of life terms over the past 24 months.
Oxfordshire, in the South East of England, is a statistical region that has lost ground on our table since 2013, going down from 10th place to 53rd place. This still puts it in the top half of the UK quality of life wise.
Here are some of the statistics for Oxfordshire in 2015:
Oxfordshire has an above average percentage of its residents in employment in 2015, at 76%. However, it also has an above average percentage of people working over 45 hours per week at 28%, which is thought to represent a poor work life balance and therefore be a negative indicator for general quality of life.
Incomes are above average in Oxfordshire with the gross weekly income of the average person there in 2015 at £563.02. Disposable income is also well above average with the average household having £20,095 available to spend for the year.
House prices are high, with the average home in 2015 costing £280k. This is not as high as some other parts of the South East of England, however. Rental prices are well above average at £80 per week.
People in Oxfordshire enjoy an above average life expectancy at 81 for men and 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.
Oxfordshire has some of the highest living expenses in the UK, as you might expect in a place with high disposable income. A weekly grocery shop in this region costs £63 – more even than in notoriously expensive places like West London.
Other Important Factors
Oxfordshire gives a fairly mediocre performance on technology, with only 89% of the region receiving mobile phone signal, and broadband speeds of 22.5Mbps on average.
Use our broadband postcode checker to see which deals and what speeds are on offer in your area.
Oxfordshire has many positives, but also has high prices and demanding working hours. Despite the negatives, it is still in the top half of our table.
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 .