However, Scotland’s capital city has slumped in the ratings, ranking 21st out of 32 council areas of Scotland, according to the 2015 Bank of Scotland Quality of Life Survey.
Edinburgh, rated 15th last year, dropped due to higher levels of traffic on city streets and a near doubling in the crime rate.
Meanwhile, other more remote areas also scored well. Shetland retained its No2 spot for the third year running, while the Western Isles moved up to third from seventh place in 2014. The rural areas scored consistently across a range of categories covering health and life expectancy, personal well-being and a low crime rate.
Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city and the most densely populated area of the country, was bottom of the table, just ahead of neighbouring West Dunbartonshire.
Nitesh Patel, housing economist at Bank of Scotland, said: “It tends to be the northern parts of Scotland that come out best for quality of life due to the lower population, higher employment rate and low crime rates. Orkney rates very positively in many categories, which has helped it secure the number one spot for the third year, although it ranks the best in only two categories - highest employment and lowest burglary rate.”
She added: “It’s not so good news for Edinburgh though, as we have seen it drop to 21st place.”
Steven Heddle, convener of Orkney Islands Council, said: “It’s very pleasing that Orkney has once again retained its crown for the best quality of life in Scotland. It’s down not only to our environment but also to the people who live here, who combine a strong and traditional sense of community with a forward-thinking, self-reliant, ambitious, can-do attitude that makes this a very special place to live and work.”
The study found that he UK’s emptiest roads are mostly in Scotland. The lowest traffic levels are found in the Western Isles with just 69 vehicles per square kilometre. Meanwhile, Dundee has the lowest rainfall in the country, while people living in Aberdeen enjoy the most sunshine.
The healthiest districts are all in the north of Scotland with Aberdeenshire having 96.8 per cent of households rating themselves in good or fairly good health, closely followed by the Orkney Islands. East Dunbartonshire has the highest life expectancy for both men and women.