Highlands and Islands the ‘happiest place to live’ in Scotland

12 July 2019

  • Happiness Index records a nationwide decrease for the first time in four years
  • Those on highest incomes remain the happiest
  • 18-24 year olds see a slump in happiness levels over the last year

The Highlands and Islands region is the happiest place to live in the whole of Scotland, according to the latest Bank of Scotland Happiness Index.

The annual nationwide survey asks Scots how happy or unhappy they are in their local communities, to create an official cheeriness barometer ranging between -100 (very unhappy), to +100 (very happy). Overall, Scots are slightly less happy than last year as the index recorded a score of 44.6 (a small decrease of 0.3 compared to 2018). However; that’s still 5.6 points happier than they were four years ago.

The wild landscapes of the Highlands and Islands may appeal to those looking for a more joyful life, as it’s been crowned the happiest place to live in Scotland, up from second position in 2018. Those living in the region highlight its rural nature and a strong sense of community as being key to their positive outlook.

Mid-Scotland and Fife is the second happiest region, followed by South Scotland. Those living in Glasgow have less cause for cheer, as they report being the unhappiest in the country.

Getting older doesn’t necessarily mean becoming grumpier as the index reveals that over 65s remain the happiest age group. They’ve consistently been table-toppers for the past four years. At the other end of the age scale, 18 to 24 year olds’ happiness levels have slumped, falling by seven points to 33.5 to now come bottom of the table.

Two’s company when it comes to a happy home as households with two residents say they’re the happiest. However those living on their own are the least happy households, falling one place to the bottom of the table.

They say money can’t buy happiness but, according to the index, the more Scots earn, the happier they are. This year, Scots with a household income of more than £60,000 are happiest, with those earning less than £15,000 the least happy.

Ricky Diggins, Director, Bank of Scotland said: “Residents of the Highlands and Islands will be even happier once they find out they officially live in the cheeriest part of Scotland. More remote locations can present some challenges to everyday life, particularly around areas such as transport, but locals highlight the natural environment and sense of community as being key to their happiness.

“We can see that happiness continues to increase the older we get, though this could also be linked to higher incomes as people progress through life.”