23rd December 2013
For the third year running the leafy Hampshire district of Hart has been named as the most desirable place to live in the UK according to research from Halifax.
The group’s Quality of Life Survey found that Hart inhabitants were not only the happiest in the UK but that they enjoyed a rate of employment well above the national average while its residents are also the healthiest in the country with a typical male life expectancy of 82.9 years compared to the national average of 79 years.
The 80% employment rate is significantly higher than the 71% national average, while gross average weekly earnings of £843 are £226, some 37%, higher than the UK average of £616. However the region falls short of the Kensington & Chelsea in this respect, whose residents can boast the highest weekly average earnings at £1,323 per week, followed by City of London at £1,281.
New ONS figures indicate the Hart adult population is among the most happy, satisfied and content in the UK.
Naturally this level of contentment comes with a price and the cost of living in Hart is high where the average house price is seven times the average annual pre-tax local income – higher than the UK average of 5.8.
However, there were several big climbers in the top 10, with South Northamptonshire climbing 27 places to third, Rushcliffe up from 22nd to seventh and Winchester up from 34th to ninth. The main reason behind these changes was the inclusion of a new ONS survey into people’s personal wellbeing.
The annual Halifax Quality of Life Survey takes a wide range of factors into account, including residents’ health and life expectancy, crime rate, weather, employment, school results, broadband access, and personal wellbeing.
Martin Ellis, economist at Halifax, says: “The old adage of ‘Health, Wealth and Happiness’ is the traditional measure of a good quality of life. For the third year running Hart has delivered against a range of indicators to demonstrate its residents have the best quality of life in the UK.
“The Hampshire district scores highly on most of the measures used, including health, life expectancy, employment, average earnings, low crime, and relatively good weather. These factors are reflected in the fact that adults in Hart rate themselves among the happiest and least anxious in the country and believe what they do in life is worthwhile.”
Within the survey the top 50 places to live in the UK are again dominated by the South East with almost half found in this region, well ahead of the East of England which claims twelve of the top 50 spots.
However, the number of areas outside the south in the top 50 has doubled in the last 12 months to 12: and now includes South Northamptonshire, Rushcliffe in Nottingham, Rutland and Harrogate.