Northern Ireland is happiest place to live in UK

Posted: by September 24th, 2014


Boys jump off the rocks on the Antrim coast. Credit: PA

Northern Ireland is the happiest place to live in the UK, a survey by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has revealed. 

Four Northern Irish counties made it into the ‘happy five’, with Antrim taking the top spot, followed by Fermanagh, Omagh and Dungannon.

The only English area to feature was Babergh in Suffolk.

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Antrim is also home to Giant’s Causeway, which is a World Heritage Site. Credit: PA

Report co-author Dawn Snape said it “unclear” why people in Northern Ireland were so happy despite having a high unemployment rate.

She said: “They’re a real conundrum for us. Unemployment is high yet they really buck the trend.

“At the moment we don’t know the answer to this high wellbeing. It may be down to social connectivity, a great sense of community, maybe it is down to how life is going there now compared with 15 years ago.”

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Babergh in Suffolk, which was voted the third happiest place to live in the UK. Credit: PA

The twice-yearly survey showed people in the UK are generally more satisfied with their lives than at any time in the past three years.

Married people rated themselves as having the highest wellbeing.

Anxiety has also fallen, according to the survey of 165,000 people. And the stats revealed a slight increase in trust in the government.

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Despite the beauty of the lake district, parts of Cumbria reported being the least happy. Credit: PA

The least happy areas are Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, Dartford in Kent, Torridge in Devon, Maldon in Essex and South Ribble in Lancashire.

While the London borough of Hackney reported the highest anxiety levels.

But it seems people in Yorkshire are the most laid back in the country as Richmondshire topped the list of least anxious places to live in the UK.

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With views like this it’s easy to see why people in Yorkshire are the most laid back. Credit: PA

The happy lists in full:

The five happiest places in the UK, according to the report, are:

  • Antrim, Northern Ireland
  • Fermanagh Northern Ireland
  • Babergh, Suffolk
  • Omagh, Northern Ireland
  • Dungannon, Northern Ireland

The least happy areas in the UK are are:

  • Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria
  • Dartford, Kent
  • Torridge, Devon
  • Maldon, Essex
  • South Ribble, Lancashire

The areas with the least anxiety are:

  • Richmondshire, Yorkshire
  • Wolverhampton, West Midlands
  • Antrim, Northern Ireland
  • Warwick, West Midlands
  • Omagh, Northern Ireland

The areas with the highest anxiety are:

  • Hackney, London
  • Cookstown, Northern Ireland
  • Barking & Dagenham, London
  • Harborough, East Midlands
  • Lambeth, London


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