When you are looking to move, it really pays off to research the places you are considering thoroughly, as the UK is hugely diverse when it comes to things that affect quality of life like cost of living and employment statistics.
In order to show where is currently a good place to live in the UK for general quality of life, we have prepared uSwitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index.
This is a league table of the 138 regions used for statistics gathering purposes in the UK, ordered using an index of overall quality of life that we generate using a wide range of official UK data.
As well as performing this research using 2015 data, we have also compared it to the same study done in 2013, so we can see how places have changed.
Southampton in the South East of England is a place whose statistics have improved since the previous uSwitch study of quality of life in 2013 – but only very slightly - rising up from 100th on our list to 99th in 2015.
Here are some of the statistics for Southampton that were used in our study:
The employment rates in Southampton are fairly mediocre, with 69% of the population in employment and 48% working what are considered to be normal full time hours of 35 to 45 hours per week.
A further 23% work for over 45 hours per week on a regular basis in Southampton, which is considered too many for a good quality of life.
Incomes in Southampton are especially high for the UK as a whole with the average gross weekly income for Southampton individuals in 2015 at £547. Household annual disposable income in Southampton is quite low, however, at £14,013.
The price of buying a house in Southampton is low by overall South East of England standards, at £170k. Rent, on the other hand, is higher than the house prices suggest at £79 per week.
The average life expectancy from birth in Southampton is similar to overall averages for England, at 83 for women and 78 for men.
Male life expectancy is just slightly below average – most places have a four year gap between male and female residents, but here it is five.
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.
Southampton has a high cost of living, with the average weekly grocery shop in 2015 coming to £63.
This is more than in traditionally expensive areas like inner London, however is the same as Southampton's nearest rival Portsmouth. The cost of car insurance is very high in Southampton too, at £556.40, and petrol is more expensive than average at 119p.
Other Important Factors
Southampton performs very well for mobile phone signal at 99% of the region, and has fairly fast broadband speeds of 27.8Mbps on average.
There are pros and cons to every place in the UK, however Southampton ranks in the bottom portion of our table for quality of life in 2015 despite its high incomes and reasonable property prices due to its very high cost of living and low disposable income.
Use our broadband postcode checker to see which deals and what speeds are on offer in your area.
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 .