Nowhere in the UK are people more happy or satisfied with life than in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, according to a new national survey.
Residents of rural Craven, which is centred on Skipton, rated their level of happiness as 8.3 out of 10 - well above the national average of 7.5 - and 8.5 for life satisfaction, compared to a UK average of 7.7.
The survey, compiled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) between April 2016 and March 2017, shows an increase in the UK-wide average for happiness and life satisfaction, compared with the previous year.
The ONS acknowledged the figures “may surprise some”, given they cover a period of “political change and uncertainty”.
Statistician Matthew Steel said: “It’s worth noting that employment rates rose during the period covered by this 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 some people’s increased sense of personal wellbeing.”
Craven also recorded the lowest level of anxiety. Asked “Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?” on a sliding scale of 10 to 0, residents gave an average rating of 2.1, compared with a national average of 2.9.
Julian Smith, MP for Skipton and Ripon, said: “I’m not surprised that Craven has the highest score in the country for happiness and life satisfaction.
“We have a high rate of employment, all of our GPs are rated as good or outstanding and we have a range of excellent schools. And then we have the Dales, an amazing mix of people living amongst the most beautiful landscapes in our country - innovative music and art - it all contributes to the rich and varied fabric of our community.”
Councillor Stephen Place, chairman of Craven District Council, added: “We’re true Yorkshire people who know our neighbours and help each other.
“Every community here enjoys its own community organisations... it’s a fabric designed to bring people together to make them feel an important part of something much larger and I think that’s the feelgood factor.”
While Yorkshire as a whole matched the UK average for life satisfaction and for happiness, the sense of well-being varied across the region.
The happiness rating was lowest in Sheffield (7.2) while life satisfaction was the lowest, at 7.56, in Bradford and Hull.
Second highest for both life satisfaction and happiness, behind Craven, was the Yorkshire Dales district of Richmondshire at 8.2 and 8.1.