Is the UK a good country to live in?
By Dan Halls
Back in 2013, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released a report stating that the UK was one of the best places to live and work. It concluded that the UK’s high environmental quality, social engagement, personal security and other factors was where it excelled among developed countries.
So, what does this mean for a person coming to live and work in the UK from overseas? Which areas make the UK a good country to live in?
High environmental quality
Although the UK’s litter problem is increasing (the Litter Action group says that 59% of its volunteers reported the problem of rural litter as ‘more than they could deal with’) according to the OECD report, it was the best performing country when it came to water quality and did noticeably better than average regarding air pollution.
A happy environment
And, we’re getting happier. The seventh World Happiness Report 2019 – which ask 3,000 people from each country to score their happiness on a scale from 0 to 10 – placed the UK 15th out of 156 countries surveyed, climbing four places since the previous year.
Good social connections
The report shows we’re a nation with the best quality of social connections. 95% of people in the UK said they have friends they can rely upon, compared to Turkey where 23% didn’t think they had friends they could count on.
There’s a wealth of evidence that positive relationships and shared activities contribute to our wellbeing. Loneliness and poor social connections are proven to be as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day; we’re lucky to be home to several charities that offer support to tackle the issue, from Campaign to End Loneliness, Age UK and Linking Lives. There are also many volunteering opportunities at these charities; volunteering is a great way to make friends, learn new skills and feel happier and healthier.
There are other important factors to consider when asking if the UK is a good place to live; our weather, civic engagement, work/life balance, health services etc. This is ultimately an objective question, the answer to which will differ depending on who you’re asking. To gauge whether you’d be happy living here, why not ask someone you know, who has already relocated to work in the UK.
For those visiting to get a feel for the UK, here's some free London attractions to make use of.