Expats seeking the good life in Scotland should look to the north east of the country after Aberdeenshire was voted as having the best quality of life.
For the second year running, residents of Aberdeenshire have the best quality of life in terms of health, life expectancy, employment, school performance and climate in Scotland, according to the annual Bank of Scotland Quality of Life Survey.
The region’s residents tend to be fit and well with 93% reporting good health and there is a higher than average life expectancy at 78 years, the survey shows. The employment rate is high, at 80%, with many residents enjoying high incomes with weekly average earnings of £1,018.
The survey also found that the level of school qualifications is above the national average with 83% achieving five or more SCQF level 4 awards compared to the Scotland average of 78%.
Residents also enjoy a relatively good climate with less rainfall per year at 999 mm against the Scotland average of 1,295 mm and slightly more weekly sunshine hours at 25.5 hours against the Scotland average of 24.9.
The Shetland Islands are second in the survey followed by East Dunbartonshire and East Lothian. All three are in the top 10 Scottish areas for weekly annual earnings ranging from £576 to £670).
Houses in East Dunbartonshire, Western Isles and Stirling are on average bigger than the average for Scotland with 4.9 rooms against the Scotland average of 4.6. Residents of East Lothian enjoy some of the best weather in Scotland, with an annual average rainfall of 791 mm and an average of 26.5 hours of sunshine per week.
The Western Isles and the Highlands have the lowest population density in the UK with just nine people per square kilometre and they also have the lowest traffic flows. The Western Isles also have the lowest burglary rates at three per 10,000 households, followed by the Orkneys at seven. The average primary school class is smallest in the Orkneys at 14 pupils followed by the Shetland Isles at 17.
‘Aberdeenshire againtops the Bank of Scotland Quality of Life Survey for 2010. Aberdeenshire scores highly relative to the average for Scotland on several indicators, such as health, life expectancy, employment, average earnings, school results and climate,’ said Nitesh Patel, economist at the Bank of Scotland.
‘Two of the top 10 areas for quality of life lie off the Scottish mainland, the Shetland Islands and the Orkney Islands and five are in the north of the country. These areas score well on high employment rates, low population densities and burglary rates, small class sizes and good secondary school exam results,’ she added.