The UK is an interesting and diverse place, but this means that the quality of life you can expect differs greatly depending on which region you choose to live in.
To help get a good idea of where in the UK you can experience the best quality of life, we have created an index based on official statistics that relate to all different aspects of quality of life, in a study we call uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index for 2015.
Somerset in the South West of England is a county that classes as one of the UK's 138 NUTS 3 statistical regions, which we compared for quality of life in our study. Since our last similar study in 2013, Somerset has dropped quite a long way down the table.
In 2013, it ranked at 82, but when we did the analysis of the 2015 data for the UK, it came 43 places lower at 125th – making it the 14th worst place for quality of life in our study.
Here are some of the 2015 quality of life statistics we used for Somerset in uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index:
Somerset actually has quite high rates of employment. 77% of the people who live in Somerset had paid work in 2015, though only 37% of the population had standard full time working patterns of 35-45 hours a week, which indicates a higher than average number of part time workers.
There are also a higher than average percentage of people in Somerset who are actually working more hours than is considered good for quality of life, at 28%.
Incomes are fairly average in Somerset with the gross weekly income per individual at £454.58.
House prices are moderately high in the Somerset statistical region, averaging £188,200 in 2015. This may not be as high as some other places in the South of England, however is comparatively high in balance with incomes.
Life expectancy in Somerset from birth is actually above average. Male life expectancy is 80, and female life expectancy here is 84.
Somerset has a very high cost of living, especially compared to its incomes. With a weekly shop for a household's groceries coming to £60 – the same as in central London and much of the South East – and above average petrol and insurance prices, it is an expensive place to live
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Other Important Factors
Another area where Somerset is let down in the statistics is its technology – though this is expected in areas that are largely rural. Only 79% of Somerset can get a mobile phone signal, and its broadband speeds are a low 13.9Mbps.
Somerset's main problem in its statistics is the poor balance between how much people earn and how much things cost, as well as a poor communication technology infrastructure. This is why it ranks so poorly in our quality of life study.
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 .