The UK’s Best Family-Friendly Places To Live
Choose a family-friendly place to live for a better quality of life for you and your children. However, finding a home that suits the needs of an entire family can be tricky. There are so many requirements and preferences to take account of, which is a situation that can very quickly lead to spiralling costs and decisions made in haste. If you have a young family, you might be keen to locate within the catchment area of a top school, for instance. Local amenities, crime levels and employment opportunities may also play a role in your decision.
According to uSwitch’s Better Family Life Index, parts of the UK are particularly conducive to raising a family. These locations should be on your house buying radar based on data such as GCSE pass rates, household income, time spent with family, weather, air quality, and average hours spent sleeping.
The top three family-friendly places in the UK to raise a family
Top of the uSwitch index was Hertfordshire. This region boasts a significantly higher-than-average household income, as well as the country’s third-highest employment rate. The average salary in the area is more than £33,000, and more than 80 per cent of working-age people have a job.
Cambridgeshire was second in the 2016 index, thanks to an employment rate of 80 per cent and an average income of more than £32,000. Among the most desirable areas in the county include Great Shelford, Cambridge, Trumpington and Newnham.
3. Central Bedfordshire
If you want an area that offers excellent employment prospects for your children, Central Bedfordshire could be a great choice. Just four per cent of young children live in jobless homes, and the region also reported small numbers of young people without a job or some form of training.
The remaining UK locations in the top 10 of uSwitch’s index are:
7. North Norfolk
9. West Cumbria
10. Calderdale and Kirklees
Good news for people living in the East of England
People in the eastern counties of England spent the most time with their families — an average of nearly five hours a day. Norfolk, Suffolk, East Yorkshire, Tyneside and Northumberland all scored highly in this area. One of the reasons for this was that local people received two days more holiday than the national average. Perhaps this was also why people in this part of the country enjoy an average of seven hours of sleep every night, 12 minutes more than the rest of the UK wants.
What is most important to people?
This uSwitch study demonstrated just how worried parents are about the pressurised, hectic nature of everyday life. Nearly half the parents who took part in the research revealed they would move to a more family-friendly location to improve their quality of life. At the same time, an astonishing 43 per cent expressed concern that they weren’t giving their children the best possible start in life. When asked what would improve their quality of life, 57 per cent said a higher disposable income and 53 per cent said lower bills. Also high up on the list of parents’ priorities was good weather — Cambridge came out top in that respect.
Is there anywhere to avoid?
Unfortunately, this research uncovered some of the less desirable locations for raising a family. North and East Ayrshire came bottom in the index due to poor academic achievement, high crime levels, limited family time, and some of the lowest wages levels in the UK. The uSwitch study revealed that Leicester was the worst place in England to raise children and was found to offer fewer primary school places, poorer GCSE results and the fourth worst employment rate in the entire UK. Other areas to perform poorly in the study were Glasgow, the Isle of Wight, Nottingham, Kingston Upon Hull and North Lanarkshire.
This report reveals that the quality of life you can offer your children in the UK very much depends on where you live. There needs to be Government action on financial education, childcare arrangements, housing stocks (both private and social), and parental stress to reduce the disparity between Britain’s best and worst areas. Until then, you might have to up sticks and move to a more family-friendly place to give your children the life you want for them.
If you’re on a budget, then consider our article on cheap but charming places to live in the UK.