If you want to be happy in the UK then Craven in Yorkshire is the place to move to, more specifically the market town of Skipton which is officially the happiest place to live in Britain.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the pretty town with its 900 year old castle, cobbled streets and surrounding countryside has a happiness rating of 8.3 out of 10, the highest for the nation as a whole.
Second is the Orkney Islands off the North East coast of Scotland, then Mid Suffolk, the Suffolk Coast, Oadby and Wigston in Leicesterhsire, Richmondshire in North Yorkshire, North Warwickshire, Woking in Surrey, the Western Isles in Scotland and then the appropriately named Eden in Cumbria.
On a country level people in Northern Ireland are the happiest and also the lowest anxiety ratings and overall people in the UK are less worried about Brexit as despite the vote to leave the European Union and a general election, life satisfaction is at its highest level since records began in 2011.
The happiness rating in Skipton was above the national average of 7.5 and people in the Yorkshire town also rated their life satisfaction at 8.5, again higher than the UK average at 7.7.
‘We’re often recognised as one of the best places to live and this is hardly surprising when you look at our beautiful countryside, brilliant schools, amazing communities and our warm and friendly people,’ said Craven district council chief executive Paul Shevlin.
The happiness surveys involve a series of questions added to the ONS Annual Population Survey since 2010, a large scale poll which consults 320,000 people. Those taking part are asked to say on a scale of one to 10on a specific date, how satisfied they were with their life, how much they felt their life was worthwhile, and how anxious they felt.
When asked if their lives were worthwhile, residents of Islington in north London and Cheltenham in Gloucestershire reported the lowest rating, both 7.4 out of 10 while North Warwickshire came out on top with 8.7 against a UK average of 7.9.
Although the UK generally reported higher levels of happiness, there were signs that some areas are less cheerful. The area around Borehamwood in Hertfordshire had a below average rating of 6.9 and parts of South Wales and the North East were among the least happy.
‘The figures may surprise some, showing a small increase in both happiness and life satisfaction during a period that has seen political change and uncertainty,’ said ONS spokesman Matthew Steel.
He pointed out that it is worth noting that employment rates rose during the period covered by the report, and other ONS analysis showed people perceiving an improvement in their own financial situations and in the overall economy. ‘These are factors we believe may account for an increased sense of personal wellbeing,’ he added.