South-west England ‘the happiest region in the UK’

  • People in the south-west of England have the highest levels of satisfaction with their local area (76% of survey respondents).
  • In contrast, just 62% of those polled in the north-east say they are satisfied with their area – the lowest of any region.
  • “Expensive” is the word Brits most associate with London (68% of respondents).
  • “Historical” is how Brits are most likely to describe Edinburgh (53%), while Sheffield is viewed as “industrial” (43%), and the word most associated with Newcastle is “football” (44%).
  • Overall, 69% of the UK are satisfied with the place where they live.
  • Access to high quality health services (GP, dentists, pharmacy) is the factor that most determines satisfaction with an area – 62% selected this option.

Satisfaction runs deep

There is no shortage of local pride in Britain’s regions, but the sunny south-west, including Bristol, Bath and the towns and villages of Somerset and Gloucestershire, has the highest levels of satisfaction (76%) among locals when asked to rate the place where they live.

New research from Legal & General as part of their Rebuilding Building Britain Index explores satisfaction levels across the UK. As part of the research, 20,000 people were surveyed to find out how satisfied they are with their lives – and how different factors – from work opportunities to transport – affect their levels of contentment. The study found that Brits are largely happy with their neighbourhood – 69% say they’re satisfied with their local area.

The key to happiness

But not everyone would describe their local patch as a happy place to live. In the north-east of England, just 62% of respondents said they’re satisfied with their area – the lowest of any region. And when asked which factors have the biggest impact on satisfaction levels, the survey revealed that healthcare, public green spaces and a reliable mobile signal are crucial to how people view their surroundings.

Other factors include congestion and quality of local roads, as well as the availability of well-paid employment options.

The words on the street

Our health, happiness and sense of place is affected by the way we perceive the world around us. So how do Brits view different cities across the UK? A new survey commissioned by Legal and General asked respondents which words they would use to describe different urban centres. Here are the top answers:

LONDONExpensive (68%)
SHEFFIELDIndustrial (43%)
BIRMINGHAMIndustrial (36%)
GLASGOWHistorical (35%)
BRISTOLHistorical (28%)
NEWCASTLEFootball (44%)
CARDIFFRugby (35%)
LEEDSFootball (33%)
EDINBURGHHistorical (53%)
BRIGHTONLively (42%)

Newcastle had the most UK respondents label the city as ‘friendly’ with 35% selected this as an option to describe the area. Sheffield (25%), Birmingham (24%), Cardiff (26%) and Brighton (30%) were the only other UK cities where ‘friendly’ was selected as one of the top 3 associated words.

Respondents offered other words and phrases as part of the survey which they believe resonate with UK cities, such as the ‘Commonwealth Games’ for Birmingham, ‘University’ for Bristol and ‘LGBTQ’ for Brighton.

The full breakdown of associated words can be found here:

John Godfrey, Director of Levelling Up, Legal and General comments:

“Our Rebuilding Britain Index focuses on how economic infrastructure and the built environment can support efforts to level the playing field of opportunity. The end-game is in people leading happier and more fulfilling lives – but we’ve found that life satisfaction can be significantly impacted by our surroundings. Our research into the common associations people in the UK have with our capitals gives us interesting insight into this specifically.”

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