A stress-free lifestyle. It’s an ideal that is pretty much impossible to achieve and something most of us crave. But can where you live can have an impact on how stressful your life is? If you are planning on building or buying a house or apartment this could be just the information you are looking for.

Here at LABC Warranty, we’ve been looking at the data for 22 cities across the UK to find out if there are certain locations that are best when it comes to reduced stress. 

We thought about the things that cause the most disruption to people’s lives. The issues that can have an impact on our mental health and the way we’re feeling. So, we decided to compare the cities across these nine metrics. These include: 

  1. Average weekly earnings
  2. Average hours worked (full-time employment only)
  3. Employment rate
  4. Housing affordability ratio
  5. Mean house price
  6. Life satisfaction
  7. Anxiety levels
  8. Average commute
  9. Cost of living 

For more information, see our methodology and list of sources below.

THE BEST PERFORMING CITIES 

For a life that is nearing ‘stress-free’ data suggests that Derby, Aberdeen and Coventry are the best cities to live in. So why do they rank so highly? 

Derby 

It’s a surprising result but Derby tops the chart when it comes to maintaining a stress-free lifestyle. Affordability across many of the metrics means that money worries are likely to be lowered. The average weekly wage is £594.60, putting it in the top ten for this particular metric. The housing affordability ratio in the area is achievable and Derby comes second only to Liverpool. The cost of living is affordable too. According to data, it has the cheapest commodities across all of the cities we analysed. 

However, Derby doesn’t perform well across all of the metrics we analysed. Residents in Derby reported higher than average working hours and the life satisfaction figure is in the bottom ten. Although, we should point out that none of the cities we analysed scored lower than 7. Overall, the data suggests that stress caused across all metrics are relatively low. 

Aberdeen 

Our analysis revealed that Aberdeen is the second best for stress levels. On first glance, it’s easy to discredit Aberdeen as it has the highest number of average hours worked each week at 38.8. All work and play can leave you feeling burnt out. However, Aberdeen also places in the top ten for the least commuting time, with the average journey to work standing at 29 minutes and 45 seconds. The city also has a weekly average wage of £596.60 which puts it in the top ten for the highest levels of pay. 

When it comes to making wages stretch, the cost of living index in Aberdeen is quite high but it does rank in the top ten for housing affordability ratio. So, money worries and paying the mortgage is likely to be low. People living in the area report high levels of life satisfaction and low levels of anxiety which suggests a healthy mental state. 

Coventry

Coventry performed well across a number of the metrics we analysed. The average weekly wage isn’t the highest at £532.30. However, with the mean house price sitting at £181,946.50, Coventry scores well for housing affordability ratio. The fact that it ranks in the top ten for the cost of living index is also a huge benefit. The city’s affordability could explain the low anxiety rate. With an average score of 2.47, it’s officially the least stressed out city of the cities we analysed. 

Across other metrics such as life satisfaction and commuting time, Coventry ranks mid-table. 

THE WORST PERFORMING CITIES 

It goes without saying that stress level varies from person to person. Location, career and health all play a big part. However, using our nine metrics, the data does suggest that Brighton, Leicester and London are the least successful at minimising stress. 

Brighton 

Brighton most likely to suffer from stress, according to our analysis. Along with an average commuting time of nearly 50 minutes, the weekly average wage is £495.90. This puts it in the bottom 10 for wages. To add further pressure, statistics show that housing isn’t affordable in comparison to wage data. The mean house price in the city is £394,636.80, the 4th highest behind London, Oxford and Cambridge. Reported anxiety levels are high, second only to Liverpool. 

On the bright side, Brighton performs well when it comes to working hours employment rate isn’t so bad either. It’s also worth mentioning that Brighton does place in the top ten for life satisfaction. They’re an optimistic lot! 

Leicester 

Leicester is the second-worst performer when it comes to stress levels. The average weekly wage sits at £479.80, making it the fourth lowest paid city in the UK. People in this area tend to work longer hours each week and data suggests that the employment rate is low compared to other cities. This means that securing financial stability may be very difficult.

The life satisfaction score (although still above 7) features in the bottom ten along with the anxiety score. On the other hand, the housing affordability ratio and cost of living ranks in the top ten. 

London 

In third place for stress levels is England’s capital city. Unsurprisingly, people in this area earn the highest weekly wage, averaging £726.70. However, this doesn’t eliminate money worries. Housing isn’t affordable in comparison to wages and the cost of living index is the highest in the UK. It’s these metrics that drag the city down to the bottom three. The city is very well connected which helps it into ninth place for the overall commuting time. 

Across other metrics, London sits mid-table. London’s employment rate ranks in eleventh place at 74.34% and it comes in twelfth for overall life satisfaction.  

FIND YOUR NEAREST CITY 

How does your nearest city compare when it comes to stress levels? Take a look at our full rankings. 

DATA AND METHODOLOGY 

In order to find the cities with the highest and lowest stress levels, we devised a scoring system across 9 specific metrics. Each city was scored against each metric, with the best performing city receiving the highest score and the worst performing city receiving the lowest score. Across all 9 datasets, the highest possible score is 217. The final score awarded is the percentage of 217. 

Below, we have summarised each metric and the data source that we have used. 

  • Average Weekly Earnings. This is based on the average gross weekly residence based earnings. Our scoring system ranked higher wages more favourably, highest to lowest. Source: ONS, Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, 2017 
  • Average Hours Worked. This is part of the average gross weekly residence based earnings and focuses on those in full-time employment. Our scoring system ranked lower hours more favourably, lowest to highest. Source: ONS, Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, 2017
  • Employment Rate. This refers to the number of people in employment expressed as a percentage of all people aged 16-64. Our scoring system ranked higher percentages of employment more favourably, highest to lowest. Source: NOMIS, Annual Population Survey, resident’s analysis. Department for Trade and Investment & (DETINI), District Council Area Statistics for Belfast, 2016 
  • Housing Affordability Ratio. The average cost of a house compared to the average wages paid to a worker in a year. Our scoring system ranked lower figures more favourably, lowest to highest. Source: ONS, Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings & Land Registry, Market Trend Data, Price Paid. Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics, Mean house prices, 2017
  • Mean House Price. The average cost of a house. Our scoring system ranked lower figures more favourably, lowest to highest. Source: Land Registry, Market Trend Data, Price Paid. Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics, Mean house prices. 
  • Life Satisfaction. An annual population survey assessing life satisfaction by local authority. Our scoring system ranked higher figures more favourably, highest to lowest. Source: Measuring National Well-being: Life Satisfaction 
  • Anxiety Levels. An annual population survey assessing life satisfaction by local authority. Our scoring system ranked higher figures more favourably, highest to lowest. Source: Measuring National Well-being: Anxiety Levels 
  • Average Commute. Figures are based on user-contributed data. Time accounts for one way travel. Our scoring system ranked lower figures more favourably, lowest to highest. Source: https://www.numbeo.com 
  • Cost of Living. Figures relate to the cost of living index which indicate the price of consumer goods. A higher score indicates a more expensive cost of living.  Our scoring system ranked lower figures more favourably, lowest to highest. Source: https://www.numbeo.com