Aberdeenshire top for quality of life

High life expectancy rates, high earnings and good school results – it’s no wonder Aberdeenshire residents enjoy the best quality of life in Scotland.

For the second year running the area came out top amongst the country’s 32 local authority areas in the Bank of Scotland’s annual Quality of Life Survey, which highlighted the area as having some of the healthiest and most well-off residents. Chief Executive of Aberdeenshire Council Colin Mackenzie welcomed the news. He said: “This is an excellent verification from the Bank of Scotland that Aberdeenshire continues to provide the best quality of life in Scotland.

“The survey measures areas such as employment levels, health, housing quality and education and to be consistently topping the chart is something we should all celebrate.

“It’s evidence that Aberdeenshire is the best place to work and live in Scotland.”

The authority has regularly been polled at the top of previous surveys carried out by the Bank of Scotland.

As well as coming top of the survey in 2009, Aberdeenshire came top overall for the best quality of life in 2007; in May 2008 the area had the best quality of life amongst rural areas in Scotland; and in November 2008 came second in the list of areas enjoying the best overall quality of life.

In March 2009 it also came out top amongst ten other rural local authorities in the Bank of Scotland’s Rural Quality of Life Survey.

The Leader of the Council, Anne Robertson added: “We are delighted to receive this news and it builds on our past achievements.

“It’s always challenging in a rural area to build on the excellent services we deliver, but it’s a tribute to every member of staff in Aberdeenshire who make sure residents get a high quality of service.

“Our vision is to be the best council and best area in Scotland and this contributes to reaching that goal.”

The latest survey found that residents of Aberdeenshire tend to be in good health and have a relatively higher than average life expectancy of 78 years. According to the Bank of Scotland’s survey, the employment rate in Aberdeenshire is 80 per cent with many residents enjoying high incomes with weekly average earnings of £1,018. On several indicators, Aberdeenshire ranks above the Scottish average, including school qualifications where 83% achieve five or more SCQF level 4 awards compared to the Scotland average of 78%.

Residents also enjoy a relatively good climate; there is, on average, less rainfall per year (999mm against the Scotland average of 1,295mm) and slightly more weekly sunshine hours (25.5 hours against the Scotland average of 24.9).

Nitesh Patel, economist at the Bank of Scotland, said: “Aberdeenshire again tops the Bank of Scotland quality of life survey for 2010. The area scores highly relative to the average for Scotland on several indicators, such as health, life expectancy, employment, average earnings, school results and climate.”

The fifth annual Bank of Scotland Quality of Life Survey tracked where living standards are highest in Scotland by ranking local performance across key indicators; covering the labour market, the housing market, the environment, education and health.

The survey covered all 32 local authority areas in Scotland and is based on data gathered from a variety of sources including, the Met Office, Department for Transport, Department of Children and the Bank of Scotland house price database.