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Scottish isles residents ‘happiest in Britain’

Residents of Kirkwall, Orkney are among the happiest in Britain, a report from the ONS has revealed. Picture: PA

Residents of Kirkwall, Orkney are among the happiest in Britain, a report from the ONS has revealed. Picture: PA

They might have some of worst weather in Britain, but the remote Scottish isles are home to the happiest people in the nation, figures suggest.

People who live in Orkney, Shetland and Eilean Siar report the highest levels of life satisfaction, self -worth and happiness across the whole of Great Britain, new Office for National Statistics (ONS) data show.

Locals also have very low levels of anxiety, coming second in the table only to Dumfries and Galloway, the ONS said.

Dawn Snape, head of personal wellbeing at the ONS, said: “It looks like Eilean Siar is the place to be.”

At the other end of the scale, people living in Stoke-on-Trent in the West Midlands have the lowest levels of self-worth and life satisfaction.

People in the region are also unhappy - reporting the third lowest levels of happiness in the nation behind Bedford and Merseyside.

Meanwhile, Reading, Milton Keynes and inner London all ranked in the top six worst places for high levels of anxiety.

People from Merthyr Tydfil in Wales and Brighton and Hove also have high levels of anxiousness, the ONS said.

More than one in five Londoners (22.4%) questioned said they had high anxiety levels.

“London has the most disposable income but very little life satisfaction and very high anxiety,” said Ms Snape.

Glenn Everett, director of measuring national wellbeing at the ONS, said that some of the factors affecting people living in the capital could be because of stressful jobs or mortgage problems.

Ms Snape added: “There are huge disparities within London, for instance average life expectancy in Tower Hamlets is 78.8 compared to 84 in Kensington and Chelsea, and we know that health is a really important factor contributing to personal wellbeing.”

The data, which was collated by polling 165,000 people, also paints a picture of wellbeing across the UK.

ONS officials asked people to rate how satisfied they are with their lives, how worthwhile they feel their lives are, how happy they feel and how anxious they feel on a scale of zero to 10 - zero being ‘not at all’ and 10 being ‘completely’.

They found that the highest proportion of people who gave the top scores for life satisfaction, worthwhile and happiness were in Northern Ireland.

England had the lowest proportion of people who gave themselves the top scores for happiness and life satisfaction.

Meanwhile Scotland appears to be the most laid-back country - having the highest proportion of people who gave themselves very low anxiety scores.

The ONS report stresses that the reasons behind the local variations are “complex and not yet fully understood”, but it says that the factors most associated with personal wellbeing are health, employment and relationship status.

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