The trams are years behind schedule, the weather is dismal and house prices are through the roof – but despite all that Edinburgh residents are the happiest in the country.
When it comes to well-being, the Capital came top out of a list of the UK’s ten largest cities – beating the likes of London, Bristol and Manchester. The data was compiled in a 2011-12 survey by the Office for National Statistics, after Prime Minister David Cameron unveiled a £2 million plan to measure the happiness of the UK.
The good news has been included in Edinburgh By Numbers, a report looking into every aspect of life in the Capital which for the first time has included statistics which reveal how content residents are.
Edinburgh came top of the UK’s ten largest cities for wellbeing, with respondents giving an average rating of seven when asked how happy they were.
The report also revealed that Edinburgh had the lowest air pollution of the UK’s largest cities, and even the weather proved fairer – with significantly less rainfall over the Capital than the Scottish average.
The council’s own Edinburgh People Survey found 66 per cent of residents were “very satisfied” with the city and 31 cent “fairly satisfied” in 2011 to 2012.
Only a very small number – less than one per cent –described themselves as “fairly” or “very” dissatisfied.
More people than ever before – 90 per cent – agreed people from different backgrounds can interact positively within the city, compared to 65 per cent in 2008.
Edinburgh by Numbers also revealed recorded crime in the city has continued to decline steadily since 2002.
The city has the highest average disposable income outside of London at £17,253 and figures also revealed the average life expectancy for men born in Edinburgh between 2008 and 2010 is 77 years old – five years more than men in Glasgow – and 82 for women, among the highest in the UK. The figures come as the government moves away from using gross domestic product (GDP) – the market value of goods and services – to judge how well the country is fairing.
Speaking at the Google Zeitgeist Europe conference in 2006, Mr Cameron said: “Wellbeing can’t be measured by money or traded in markets.
“It’s about the beauty of our surroundings, the quality of our culture and, above all, the strength of our relationships.”
Economy convener Councillor Frank Ross said: “I am sure potential investors in the city will be very encouraged to hear that residents show a high rate of satisfaction and we even come out top in a national survey on happiness. The document is an essential resource for anyone looking to invest in the city or simply looking for key facts and figures. New information is included in this edition of Edinburgh By Numbers, as it is important we constantly update it.”
We asked people on the streets of Edinburgh whether they were happy with their city
GRAEME Smith, 28, The Pleasance: “I would say I’m happy to live here. Everything is easy to get to and it’s a great city to walk around in.”
EMMA Goodman, 35, Portobello: “I live in London half of the time but Edinburgh is a very pretty city and easy to get around. Overall, I’d say I’m really happy to live here.”
JENNY Murdoch, 30, Bruntsfield: “I’m happy to live in Edinburgh. It’s a beautiful city and you can walk around without feeling unsafe.”
DOROTA Szpilezynska, 25, Leith: “I’m happy to live in Edinburgh. There’s lots of good place to visit, like the museums. I’m originally from Poland and I have never had any problems living here.”