Edinburgh vs Glasgow: Where’s cheaper to live?

New analysis has found which of Scotland’s biggest cities offers the best standard of living.

New analysis has found which of Scotland’s biggest cities offers the best standard of living.

The study, complied by the business analytics team at Capgemini, looked at 18 cities to determine where in the UK offers the highest disposable income when offset against living and leisure costs.

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Edinburgh and Glasgow were the only two Scottish cities included in the figures and it was found that those living in the Capital have an average monthly disposable income that is over £300 higher than their west coast compatriots.

When compared to the rest of the UK, Edinburgh comes out on top for disposable income after living costs are deducted. Its residents are almost three times better off than those who live in London.


The research identified the basic costs associated with urban life. This included rent, utilities, internet, a monthly travel card and a gym membership. Due to the disproportionately high rental prices around London’s central areas the cost of rent for London is calculated based on a one-bedroom flat outside the city centre, whereas for the remainder of the cities the cost of rent is modelled on a one-bedroom flat in the city centre.

Cost of living in Edinburgh was slightly higher than Glasgow with total monthly costs at £887 and £824 respectively.

In London monthly living costs were as high as £1,491.


Using the most up-to-date average wage data from the Office for National Statistics (2013) and adjusting it using the inflation rate to pro rata to 2015 we start to get a picture of which cities give residents the best value for money.

High wages, driven by Edinburgh’s prevalent financial sector pushes the average monthly salary (after tax) in the Scottish capital to within reach of the UK’s highest earning city-dwellers in London, who earn an average monthly wage just shy of £2000.

Between Edinburgh and Glasgow there is a monthly salary difference of approximately £400.

George Hodgson-Abbott who undertook the study for Capgemini said:

“Interestingly, the average wages do not appear to correlate to the average cost of living for each city.

“Clearly the difference in income and cost of living in Edinburgh is higher than other cities, including London.”

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To get an idea of how much it costs to socialise in each city the price of a three-course meal, four pints of beer and an adult cinema ticket in each city were totted up and compared to the national average of £43.11.

Somewhat unsurprisingly London has leisure cost that are 35 per cent higher than the national average.

North of the border, Edinburgh has leisure costs three per cent higher than the average while Glasgow is five per cent below the national mean.

So now you know where to go for a reasonably priced night out!


Edinburgh tops the list for average monthly disposable income - when all other costs are deducted - with a whopping £811 while Glasgow comes in at £481.

Citizens of Birmingham were the worst off out of all the cities surveyed, retaining only £247 of income once bills and lifestyle costs had been accounted for.

However money isn’t everything when deciding where to live. Hogson-Abbott said: “ There are, of course, other factors to take into consideration.

“Unemployment levels in each city; the distribution of wealth in London and the immeasurable value of living in a city you love.”

The breakdown of disposable income by city was:

Birmingham - £247

Coventry - £253

Leicester - £262

Nottingham - £268

Manchester - £273

Cambridge - £294

Bristol - £326

London - £328

Liverpool - £364

Oxford - £427

Leeds - £479

GLASGOW - £481

Sunderland - £537

Bradford - £560

Belfast - £583

Sheffield - £594

Cardiff - £625