UK

What are the top five happiest parts of the UK?

  • 24 July 2012
  • From the section UK
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I need more time to digest the new statistics on national well-being, but one finding got me sitting bolt upright in my chair today.

Among the four questions asked as part of the survey is "Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?" Respondents must pick a score between 0 and 10 with any score below three being regarded as indicative of a pretty chilled-out individual.

So where are the most relaxed places in the UK? You take the high road and head north.

The least anxious area is the most northerly - Eilean Siar, Orkney & Shetland. In the outer isles some 71% scored three or less. Next is Moray. Then Aberdeenshire followed by Angus and Highland. The five most laid back places in Britain are all in the north of Scotland.

And the region doesn't just do well on its anxiety rating. Eilean Siar, Orkney & Shetland also comes out top when people were asked how happy they were yesterday and how worthwhile they considered their life.

The only category in which the remote islands off our most northerly coasts failed to come top was when asked to rate their life satisfaction - they came second behind Bath and North Somerset.

It is not pots of money or a fancy car. It is clearly not the weather. There is something about a simple rural lifestyle that is associated with high levels of well-being. Is porridge a factor?

Now have a look at the five most anxious places: Leicestershire, Inner London, Middlesbrough, South Ayrshire and Peterborough. It is much harder to discern any clear pattern with this group but I have no doubt that with a bit of digging academics will unearth the important correlations.

I thought it might be useful to list the top and bottom five places for each of the four questions asked as part of the Subjective Well-Being Annual Population Survey. What conclusions can we draw?

Let me know your thoughts.