Choosing the right place to live can actually be quite a challenge in the UK, given how many hugely diverse places there are within England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, each with their own cultures, economies and pros and cons.
That is why it pays to do your research before making a decision on where you want to live. Finding the quality of life you are looking for is far easier if you have access to information and analysis that can make comparisons easy, like uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index.
With uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index, we have taken a huge amount of official UK data for the 138 statistical regions that make up England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and done a detailed analysis that has allowed us to rank each region in order from the best to the worst places to live right now.
This has included data on things relating to finances like average incomes, house prices, and the cost of living, and also other factors important to quality of life like classroom sizes in schools, and local broadband speeds.
When we compare these findings to those from a similar study we did in 2013, it is possible to also see where some places are rising up the table, indicating improving quality of life, and others are falling.
Sefton, in the North West of England, is a statistical region that has dropped down the table since 2013, now in 56th place where it was in 48th in the last study. This is not a huge drop, and still places Sefton in the top half of the table of the best places to live in the UK, however it is still notable. Here are some of Sefton's stats:
Employment in Sefton is about average for the UK as a whole, at 70%. 44% of people in Sefton work normal full time hours (35-45 hours per week), and a fairly low 23% 'overwork', regularly working more than 45 hours.
Incomes are low comparative to the majority of the UK, with the gross weekly income for Sefton individuals in 2015 at £459.40.
House prices are moderate, and somewhat high for the North of England, with the 2015 average house price standing at £146,125.
Life expectancies are in line with UK wide average statistics at 78 for men and 83 for women – though it is worth noting that Sefton has a five year gap between the genders where the gap in most parts of the UK is four years.
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 in Sefton is on the low side of average, with a weekly grocery shop for a household costing £53 in 2015.
Other Important Factors
When it comes to technology and convenience, Sefton scores very well on mobile phone coverage at 99%, and has reasonably good broadband speeds at 26.8Mbps on average.
Use our broadband postcode checker to see which deals and what speeds are on offer in your area.
Sefton has positive and negative aspects, like most places in the UK, but it is financially quite well balanced between incomes and outgoings and is a reasonably convenient place to live.
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 .