People from around the world regard Scotland as a great place to work and live and now a study suggests that the best place to move to in terms of quality of life is Aberdeenshire. Lifestyle is an important consideration for expats and the Scottish region has it all, according to the annual Bank of Scotland quality of life survey which rates Aberdeenshire top for health, life expectancy, employment, schools and climate.
People living in Aberdeenshire tend to be fit and well with 93.3% reporting good health and there is a higher than average life expectancy of 78.2 years. The survey also shows that the employment rate is high, at 79%, with many residents enjoying high full time weekly average earnings of £661, some 13% above the Scotland average of £585.
The level of school qualifications is above the Scotland average and 83% achieve five or more SCQF level 4 awards compared to the average of 79%. Residents also enjoy a relatively good climate with less rainfall per year at 999 mm against the Scotland average of 1,289 mm and slightly more weekly sunshine hours at 25.5 hours against the Scotland average of 24.9.
However, there is a cost associated with a high quality of life and that is house prices. In Aberdeenshire where they are 5.7 times the average annual local income, significantly higher than the Scotland average of 4.5. Taking second place is East Dunbartonshire, where full time gross weekly earnings are significantly above the Scotland average at £692 and the employment rate at 74% is also above the Scotland average of 71%.
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Similarly, 92% of East Dunbartonshire residents enjoy good or fairly good health and average life expectancy is 79 years. The proportion of school pupils achieving five or more SCQF level 4 awards is the highest in Scotland, at 92%. Residents of East Dunbartonshire also have some of the largest houses in Scotland with an average of 4.9 habitable rooms and 92% of households have a good level of broadband access compared to the Scotland average of 81%. However, at 4.8 times income the average house price to earnings ratio is above the Scotland average of 4.5, although it is significantly lower than Aberdeenshire.
The Shetland Islands, last year’s winner, is third followed by East Renfrewshire. The Islands score highly on employment rate, low on levels of crime as well as low population density and small average class room sizes. While East Renfrewshire performs very well on average weekly earnings, number of rooms, access to fast broadband, as well as residents reporting themselves in good health and with long life expectancy.
‘Taking a wide range of indicators into account, residents in Aberdeenshire enjoy the best quality of life in Scotland and this is the fourth time in seven years it has taken this accolade,’ said Bank of Scotland economist Nitesh Patel, ‘While not being the leading district across all measures, Aberdeenshire comes out on top because it scores consistently highly across nearly all indicators. In particular, Aberdeenshire residents typically enjoy good health, long life expectancy, high employment, low crime, and high quality schooling. On the downside, house prices are relatively high compared to local incomes’ added Patel.