- South West takes top spot as happiest place to live, with those living in Wales being the least happy
- Happiness increases with age, as people over 65 report being the happiest
- Research also looked at impact of home ownership, household size and salary on Brits’ happiness
The South West has been crowned the happiest region to live in Britain, with Scotland in second place and Yorkshire ranking third, according to a new nationwide survey by Lloyds Bank and YouGov.
The survey, commissioned as part of Lloyds Bank’s How Britain Lives series, asked Brits how happy or unhappy they are in their local communities to create an official happiness barometer ranging between -100 (very unhappy) to +100 (very happy). The average happiness score for the British population was 43 out of 100.
Home to the Eden Project, Glastonbury, Stonehenge and a stunning coast, the South West took the top spot, with residents reporting a happiness score of 51 out of 100.
Scots reported happiness levels of 48 out of 100, closely followed by upbeat residents in Yorkshire who ranked 47 out of 100.
Those who reported being the happiest said good transport links, convenient amenities, living close to friends and family, safety, cleanliness and a good community spirit all contributed to their happiness levels.
The areas where residents reported being the least happy were Wales (34), London (36) and the West Midlands (37), with locals at least 28% less happy than those living in the South West.
High crime rates, anti-social behaviour, poor local services, unemployment, not knowing your neighbours and loneliness were the main issues reported by the Britain’s least happy residents.
Living in the South West often comes with a high price tag, with the average house priced 7% above the national average1. However, money goes further in Scotland and Yorkshire, with the average house priced at 37% and 35% below the national average respectively2.
Happiness increases after the age of 35
Overall, women (44) were found to be happier than men (41).
Happiness levels for both men and women dip to their lowest between the ages of 25-34 (25 for men and 32 for women), and peaks after the age of 55 (50 for men and 51 for women).
People aged over 65 were the happiest of all age groups, ranking 66% happier than those in their late teens, twenties and early thirties.
Home owners happier than renters
Perhaps unsurprisingly, people who own their homes outright reported higher levels of happiness (54), than those with a mortgage to pay (48) or renting (24). Of those renting, the least unhappy with their situation are those renting from a local authority (14) or housing association (25). Those renting from private landlords also ranked under the national average (43) at 34.
Two’s company, three’s a crowd
The research also showed that those living in a household of two people were happiest (48), ranking 21% happier than people in households of between three and six (40). Those living on their own reported a happiness score of just 37.
Can money buy happiness?
People with a higher personal income are happier, but only to an extent. Those earning between £30,000-£39,999 have a higher happiness score (47) than those in the £60,000-£69,999 earnings bracket (44). Meanwhile, those earning between £50,000-£59,999 per year were the happiest group overall (65), ranking 12% happier than those earning over £100,000 per year (58).
Being able to manage their money proved to make people much happier (58) as opposed to those who struggled to keep on top of their finances (19). Similarly, those who were unable to actively save money reported low levels of happiness (22), while basic savings of under £1,000 had a clear impact on happiness scores (38). The highest happiness levels were for people with savings of between £30,000-£39,000 (60).
Andy Mason, Mortgages Director at Lloyds Bank said: “The happiness ranking gives us an idea of the quality of life in each region across Britain, with the South West taking the top spot this year. Financial security clearly plays a role in how happy we are, but that doesn’t tell the full story. Other factors like convenient amenities, living close to friends and family, and a good community spirit make a big impact too.”
Lloyds Happiness Index: Regions in order of happiness
- South West (51.4)
- Scotland (48.48)
- Yorkshire (47.97)
- North West (45.5)
- South East (43.57)
- Northern Ireland (41.38)
- East Midlands (40.82)
- East of England (40.62)
- North East (40)
- West Midlands (37.22)
- London (36.16)
- Wales (33.67)