Female Highland pensioners are happiest people in Scotland

Female pensioners on a bench Image copyright Thinkstock

The happiest people in Scotland are women aged over 65 who live in the Highlands, according to a report.

The Bank of Scotland's new happiness index attempts to quantify how happy people are in the communities in which they live.

The study found that women were far more content with their lives than men.

The survey results also revealed that those aged 18 to 24 were the unhappiest age group, with a score below the Scotland average.

According to the index, people's happiness increased in the 25-34 age bracket, but then dipped slightly during the 35-44s, before rising sharply for the 45-54 age group.

But it is the retirement age of over 65 when people were happiest in life, the survey found.

Personal income

Of those living in the Highlands and Islands, two-fifths reportedly confessed to being "very happy" with their lives there.

Just under a third (30%) of Dundonians said the same which put Dundee in second place.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe happiest people in Scotland are women aged over 65 who live in the Highlands according to a new happiness index

Aberdeen, Fife and Central Scotland appeared to be the least happy regions, having happiness scores four points below the Scottish average.

The index found that 5% of respondents in both Fife and Central said they were "very unhappy" with life in their community.

When it comes to money, those with the highest happiness score had a personal income of more than £60,000 while those with a household income of up to £14,999 had the lowest score.

Second happiest were those in the £40,000-£59,999 bracket for both personal and household income.

'Intriguing questions'

Scots with a personal income of £25,000-£39,999 rank third, although this is not the case for household income.

Third in this category were those with a household income of £15,000-£24,999, while those earning a bit more - the £25,000- £39,999 category - were considered to be less happy.

Robin Bulloch, managing director at Bank of Scotland Community Bank, said: "The happiness index has highlighted some fairly obvious points, like the more money people have the happier they tend to be.

"But it's also raised some intriguing questions about why the happiness score dips for the 35-44 age group and why women, in general, are happier than men."

How does the survey work?

The findings are based on 3,215 online interviews, conducted by YouGov, with a nationally representative sample of adults aged 18 and over living in Scotland.

The index was created by assigning a score between 100 and -100 to people's responses to the question: "Taking everything into account, how happy or unhappy would you say you are living in your community?"

The average happiness score was then calculated using the values: -100 for a response of "Very unhappy", -50 for "Somewhat unhappy", a score of zero for "Neither happy nor unhappy", +50 for "Somewhat happy" and +100 for a response of "Very happy".

Happiest by region

  1. Highlands & Islands: Happiness score of 47.73
  2. Dundee and surrounding area: 44.30
  3. Mid-Scotland (split): 43.22
  4. West Scotland: 41.86
  5. Mid-Scotland & Fife (split): 39.03
  6. Lothians: 38.62
  7. Glasgow: 37.96
  8. South Scotland: 36.52
  9. Central: 35.57
  10. Fife (area split): 35.56
  11. Aberdeen and surrounding area: 34.99

Average across Scotland: 39.02

Happiest by age

  1. 65 or higher: Happiness score of 55.44
  2. 55+: 50.67
  3. 45-54: 35.99
  4. 25-34: 31.13
  5. 35-44: 30.53
  6. 18-24: 30.42

Happiest by income

  • Household income
  1. £60,000 or more: Happiness score of 45.45
  2. £40,00-£59,999: 42.41
  3. £15,000-£24,999: 38.11
  4. £25,000-£39,999: 37.58
  5. Up to £14,999: 31.35
  • Personal income
  1. £60,000 or more: Happiness score of 48.00
  2. £40,00-£59,999: 42.01
  3. £25,000-£39,999: 41.69
  4. £15,000-£24,999: 37.15
  5. Up to £14,999: 34.58

The information was gathered between 12 December 2014 and 5 January 2015.