Bristol has the best quality of life in the UK, new index reveals

by Ray Clancy on October 23, 2013

Expats moving to the UK are generally drawn to London but new research shows the city is by no means the best place to live in terms of quality of life with Bristol coming out top followed by Edinburgh and then Cardiff.

London comes in seventh in terms of quality of life, according to the Quality of Life Index produced by MoneySuperMarket which assesses the 12 largest cities in the UK on a range of factors including property, rental costs, salaries, cost of living, jobs and life satisfaction.


Bristol is best place to live in terms of quality of life in the UK, followed by Edinburgh and then Cardiff.

Bristol scooped the top spot. The average employee salary there is £22,293, above the UK average of £21,473, and the third highest out of the 12 largest UK cities. It also has the highest disposable income growth and one of the lowest unemployment rates at 8 per cent.

Edinburgh has the second highest average salary of £24,628 and the lowest unemployment rate out of all cities at 6.7 per cent. This compares with an unemployment rate of 7.8 per cent across Scotland and 11.5 per cent in Glasgow.

Edinburgh also came out more favourably than the UK average on other factors including weekly average cost of living at £372.10 compared to the UK average of £401.10. And Edinburgh scored 7.42 on the life satisfaction scale, above Cardiff, London and Bristol. Disposable household income growth was 2.9 per cent which is 0.13 per cent higher than the UK average of 2.86 per cent.

‘The UK is only just making its way out of the deepest recession it has seen since the 1930s and it’s clear that people living in different cities across the country have had to face different problems. It is interesting to see Bristol and Edinburgh topping the table of the best places to live in the UK from a quality of living perspective,’ said Clare Francis, editor in chief at MoneySuperMarket.

As expected, those in London have the highest salaries, £30,471 on average, and house prices in the capital have outperformed the rest of the country over the past year. Properties in London have increased by an average of 10 per cent year on year, compared to the likes of Glasgow and Bradford, where they fell by 1 per cent.

However, London only came seventh overall in the index due to a combination of factors including a lower than average score for life satisfaction at 7.3 versus the UK average of 7.4, and higher than average rents and mortgage payments at £131 a week and £179 per week respectively. Indeed, London rents are the highest of the 12 largest cities and almost double the national average of £77 a week.

Bradford, Sheffield, Birmingham and Glasgow are found to have the lowest quality of living in the UK. This is due to a combination of low salaries, poor disposable household income growth and higher than average unemployment rates despite their lower costs of living. Birmingham has also been hit particularly hard in recent months, with unemployment now standing at 16.5 per cent.

‘The UK’s quality of living has suffered in recent years and, as a result, many households are struggling to make ends meet each month. In many ways this is understandable given salary increases haven’t kept up with rising living costs and millions of people haven’t seen their pay rise at all for the last few years,’ added Francis.

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