The 22 happiest, richest, healthiest, and most crime-free areas in Britain

Will Martin
Thursday 13 October 2016 19:17

Every year, the Legatum Institute, a London based think-tank releases its annual global Prosperity Index, a huge survey that ranks what it calls the most prosperous countries in the world.

However, in 2016 the think-tank has released its first ever UK only Prosperity Index, ranking the regions of the UK by their level of prosperity.

Prosperity is not just about how much money a region has, but also includes how people feel in their day-to-day lives, and how happy they are.

As the report's director Alexandra Mousavizadeh notes: "We believe that true prosperity is as much about well being as it is about wealth, and something has held the UK back."

To find out where in the UK is most prosperous, the Legatum Institute looked at 43 variables, including traditional indicators like unemployment, all the way to more obscure indicators like how much people smoke and how quick the internet is.

The variables are then split into seven sub-indexes: economic quality, business environment, education, health, safety and security, social capital, and natural environment.

The index looked at 389 of the 391 local authorities across the UK, excluding only the City of London and the Isles of Scilly, where there was not enough data.

22. Vale of Whitehorse — Located in the southern county of Oxfordshire, the Vale of White Horse area is famed for the Uffington White Horse, a prehistoric limestone figure carved into a hillside. The area scored highly in the economy sub-index, ranking 8th overall.

(Ethan Doyle White/CC 3.0

21. Surrey Heath — Surrey Heath, as its name suggests, is in Surrey, and is part of the Green Belt surrounding London. It ranked highly in economy and education sub-indexes, but scored well across the board. The Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst is is in the region.

20. West Somerset — The western part of the southwestern county of Somerset is largely rural, with the biggest town, Minehead, home to just 10,000 people. It ranked 4th in the social capital index.

19. Three Rivers — Named for the rivers the Chess, the Gade, and the Colne, Three Rivers in Hertfordshire scored well across the board, but ranked 21st for its business environment, its highest individual ranking.

18. West Berkshire — About halfway between London and Bristol, West Berkshire is home to major offices of international companies like Bayer and Pepsico, but ranked just 221st for its business environment. The best sub-index for the area was social capital, where it was 14th.

17. Tunbridge Wells — The Kentish town of Tunbridge Wells has a reputation as a stereotypical "middle England" town, but it is hugely prosperous according to the Legatum Institute. Its highest sub-index score was social capital where it finished 8th.

16. East Renfrewshire — The western Scottish region is home to around 90,000 people, and ranked 1st overall in the education sub-index. It also ranked in the top 10 for its business environment.

(Wikipedia/CC 4.0

15. Bath and North East Somerset — Bath is probably best known for its ancient Roman baths and Georgian architecture, but it is also one of Britain's most prosperous regions. Its highest individual rank was 17th in the safety and security category.

14. Hart — The Hampshire region, about an hour from London, is frequently named as one of the best places in the UK to live, and that is reflected by the Legatum Institute's research. It has the 2nd best score for health of any region in the UK.

13. Woking — The Surrey town, home of car manufacturer McLaren, scored particularly well in the economic sub-index, ranking 11th.

12. Wokingham — Not related to Woking, the Berkshire town of Wokingham is about 40 miles from London. Its highest score from the Legatum Institute came in the Education sub-index, where it finished 8th.

11. New Forest — The Hampshire district is famed for its native ponies, and for being particularly affluent, as well as beautiful. The area is a National Park, and that status is reflected in its ranking of 2nd in the Natural Environment category.

10. Guildford — Guildford is the archetypal London commuter town, located about 25 miles from the capital. It did not excel in any particular area, with its highest individual ranking coming in the health category, where it was 25th.

9. East Dunbartonshire — Located bang in the heart of Scotland, East Dunbartonshire's high overall position in the index is helped by coming 2nd in the education sub-index.

(Wikipedia/CC 3.0

8. East Hampshire — Hampshire features heavily on the Legatum Institute's list, with East Hampshire doing particularly well for its natural environment, where it came 5th.

7. Mid Sussex — Mid Sussex, which includes the towns of Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill, picked up its best score in the health sub-index, where it was 15th.

6. South Oxfordshire — Home to the affluent district of Henley, where foreign secretary Boris Johnson was once MP and the home of the famous regatta, South Oxfordshire had the 7th best economic quality score.

5. Chiltern — 10th in education was the best sub-index score for the Chiltern region, located in Buckinghamshire. The area is named for the Chiltern Hills, and is on the Metropolitan Line of the London Underground.

4. St Albans — St Albans, in Hertfordshire, finished 2nd overall for economic quality, and 3rd for its business environment. This makes it one of only two regions to score in the top 5 for more than one sub-index.

3. Winchester — Another part of Hampshire, the cathedral city of Winchester actually ranked top of two different sub-indexes, finishing 1st in economic quality and in health.

2. Mole Valley — The region of Surrey has two major towns, Dorking and Leatherhead, and scored highly across the seven sub-indexes. Its best performance was in health, where it was 11th.

1. Waverley — The UK's most prosperous area, according to the Legatum Institute, is in Surrey. The region is home to the town of Godalming, and is well known for its green space. Its best single sub-index score was for health, where it finished 8th.

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Read the original article on Business Insider UK. © 2016. Follow Business Insider UK on Twitter.

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