Happiest places in Northern Ireland revealed (and the most miserable)

Ballycastle is situated in the Causeway Coast and Glens region of Northern Ireland (Photo: Shutterstock)
Ballycastle is situated in the Causeway Coast and Glens region of Northern Ireland (Photo: Shutterstock)

Causeway Coast and Glens, and  Newry, Mourne and Down have both been identified as the happiest place to live in Northern Ireland, while Belfast has been deemed the least happy.

Scores were produced for council area by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) based on four measures of personal well-being - life satisfaction, feeling that the things done in life are worthwhile, happiness and anxiety.

Health, employment and relationship status are key determinants of personal well-being according to previous research done by the ONS. The report covers the whole of the UK - but here is a list of the top and bottom scores for Northern Ireland;

Life satisfaction in Northern Ireland

Causeway Coast and Glens 8.2/10

Newry, Mourne and Down 8.2/10

Lisburn and Castlereagh 8.0/10

Fermanagh and Omagh 8.0/10

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon 7.9/10

Ards and North Down 7.9/10

Derry City and Strabane 7.9/10

Mid Ulster 7.8/10

Antrim and Newtownabbey 7.8/10

Mid and East Antrim 7.6/10

Belfast 7.3/10

The full report, entitled Personal well-being in the UK: April 2017 to March 2018, can be found here along with an interactive map.

Researchers warn that conclusions from the data should be “made with caution” though, because discrepancies such as different sample sizes in different areas may have skewed some results.

A note provided along with the bulletin says that comparisons between individual local authorities will be more meaningful by comparing like with like, such as between several large urban areas or between rural communities in different parts of the UK. Another option is to present changes in personal well-being over time within the same local authority area, identifying significant changes.

Wider findings

The report found that the happiest place to live in the UK is apparently an area of north-east Hampshire called Rushmoor, which scored 8.35 out of 10. The UK average was 7.7.

Overall Northern Ireland continued to report the highest average life satisfaction, worthwhile and happiness ratings, and the lowest anxiety ratings, when compared with the UK and the other constituent countries of the UK.

Commenting on the figures, Silvia Manclossi, head of the ONS Quality of Life Team, said: "An important part of our work is looking beyond the economic health of the country to how its people are faring and inequalities in society.

"Today, for the first time, we have identified how factors such as health, access to services, and crime levels may affect how people rate their well-being in different parts of the UK. This can help local authorities and other organisations to better understand where services could be targeted to help improve the well-being of people in their area.”