South Cambridgeshire tops Quality of Life survey

Nia Williams

April 18, 2011

The Halifax Rural Areas Quality of Life Survey tracks where living standards are highest in Great Britain by ranking local performance across key indicators; covering the labour market, the housing market, the environment, education and health.

The survey examines 140 local authority districts and is based on data at local authority (LA) level. Data has been gathered from a number of sources, including the ONS, DEFRA, the Met Office, the Department for Transport, Department of Children, Schools and Families, the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Welsh Assembly, and the Scottish Executive.

South Cambridgeshire won the top spot because:

  • Residents tend to be fit and well with 95% reporting general good health
  • Higher than average life expectancy (81.6 years).
  • A high employment rate (79%) with many residents enjoying high incomes with weekly average earnings of £739.
  • The level of school qualifications is above the national average – 75% achieve five or more GCSE results grades A-C, just ahead of the national average of 74%.
  • Residents also enjoy a relatively good climate with significantly less rainfall per year than the national average (597 mm against 871 mm).

Residents in southern England generally enjoy the best rural quality of life with over two thirds of the top rated 50 areas being here. The South East rates highest with fifteen local rural areas placed in the top 50, followed by the East of England (14) and the South West (7). The remainder is split between nine in East Midlands, three in the West Midlands and two in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Rural areas in the North tend to receive high ratings on school exam results and environmental measures such as low population densities and low traffic flows. Rural areas in the south of England typically perform better on average earnings, employment, health and weather.

Nitesh Patel, housing economist at Halifax, commented: “In recent years, South Cambridgeshire has performed well against the full range of indicators to demonstrate that its residents consistently have amongst the best quality of life in rural Britain. In particular, good health scores and life expectancy in South Cambridgeshire are the highest amongst all the regional areas on the survey. Even the rain falls less frequently than the national average in South Cambridgeshire, contributing to the general high performance of this area in employment, average earnings, school performance, health and life expectancy.”

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