Glasgow city dwellers the unhappiest in Scotland as Highlands life brings a smile

Glaswegians have the lowest levels of happiness in Scotland, according to a national study that suggests moving away from big cities is likely to make people much less miserable.

Residents of the Highlands and Islands – the most sparsely populated part of the UK – are happier than people living anywhere else in the country, the Bank of Scotland research found.

Its annual “happiness index” asks thousands of Scots how happy or unhappy they are in their local communities before assigning them a score between -100 and +100, with zero being neutral.

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The average happiness level in Glasgow was just +38.5, leaving the nation’s biggest city lagging a long way behind the Highlands and Islands, which topped the table on +55.6.

Communities in the Highlands and Islands topped the Bank of Scotland's happiness index

Mid-Scotland and Fife was found to be the second happiest region, scoring +48.6, followed by South Scotland on +46.1 and the Lothians, including the city of Edinburgh, on +44.7.

The survey also found Scots are slightly less happy than they were last year, with the average score of +44.6 marking a small decrease compared to 2018’s result.

There also appears to be a generational divide when it comes to life satisfaction, with over-65s remaining the happiest age group for the fifth year running, with a score of 

By contrast, the happiness levels of 18 to 24-year-olds have slumped, falling seven points to +33.5.

It means this age group is now the unhappiest in Scotland.

The study also looked at household size, finding those with two residents were the happiest, followed by those with six or more people. Living alone was found to be a recipe for unhappiness.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Scots with a household income of more than £60,000 were by far the most happy, with an average score over eight points higher than those on between £40,000 and £60,000.

The scores were based on a YouGov poll of 3,048 adults aged 18 and over living in Scotland, with interviews carried out in March this year.

Bank of Scotland director Ricky Diggins said: “Residents of the Highlands and Islands will be even happier once they find out they officially live 
in the cheeriest part of Scotland.

“More remote locations can present some challenges to everyday life, particularly around areas such as transport, but locals highlight the natural environment and sense of community as being key to their happiness.

“We can see that happiness continues to increase the older we get, though this could also be linked to higher incomes as people progress through life.”

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council shrugged off the findings. “Surely answering a Bank of Scotland survey makes everyone happy?” they joked.