The UK's best locations to raise a family

Every family has different priorities when deciding where to settle down and raise their children, with some locations simply ticking off more on the wish list than others. To make matters even more complicated, the COVID-19 pandemic and the cost of living crisis has caused many of us to reconsider what we need from a home, whether that’s a dedicated workspace, a larger outdoor area, quieter surroundings or more affordable living costs.

To make the search easier, our research analyses the most popular locations in the UK to determine the best places to raise a family, looking at average house and rent prices, job opportunities, local amenities, air quality, broadband speeds, crime and pollution rates, and the number of schools.

Edinburgh revealed as the best city to raise a family in 2022

Combining 13 metrics to determine the best location to raise a family, Edinburgh comes out as the top destination, followed by Norwich in second place and Brighton & Hove in third.

The Scottish city of Edinburgh comes out on top partly due to its low crime rate (29.57), second only to Norwich (24.5)  and its significant number of museums (50) and libraries (73), including the National Museum of Scotland and the iconic Edinburgh Central Library.

Our research shows that Norwich ranks as the safest city for families, with the lowest crime score. In addition, job opportunities are the second highest in the country, with 1,487 per 100,000 capita. Norwich also features as the location with the highest number of schools with 156 per 100,000 people.

Rank City Current house price Mortgage interest rates (%) Average monthly salary Average monthly rent price Cost of internet (monthly) Job opportunities (per 100,000 capita) Broadband speed (Mbps) No. of schools (per 100,000 capita) No. of museums No. of libraries Pollution score Crime rate
1 Edinburgh £316,864 2.44 £2,142 £1,377 £28.91 387 79.5 31 50 73 25.4 29.57
2 Norwich £224,334 3.12 £1,666 £918 £30.50 1,487 67.3 156 8 10 28.95 24.5
3 Brighton & Hove £407,783 2.45 £2,220 £1,982 £28.54 746 78.1 55 18 9 17.86 39.52
4 Glasgow £164,382 3.29 £2,206 £1,069 £30.92 304 66.2 92 50 101 34.91 52.92
5 Reading £311,620 2.35 £2,611 £1,437 £33.62 921 75.9 46 6 10 27.17 53.57
6 Newcastle-upon-Tyne £180,027 2.73 £2,021 £895 £27.86 681 60.4 43 17 35 26.85 44.57
7 Derby £185,925 3.52 £2,614 £723 £29.00 781 77.0 58 9 15 26.92 49.35
8 Aberdeen £149,464 3.29 £2,068 £846 £24.20 252 44.5 29 11 29 20.24 35.46
9 Manchester £210,534 2.73 £2,166 £1,260 £30.16 1,459 63.4 49 35 42 48.08 64.12
10 Luton £262,956 2.3 £1,767 £1,198 £29.67 370 79.7 45 13 17 22.5 62.61

The vibrant Brighton & Hove boasts the lowest pollution level (17.86) and the fifth best crime rate (39.52), combining to make it number three on the list.

The cost to buy and rent in the top 10 locations

When searching for the perfect location, affordability is a major factor in where we decide to settle down. Looking at current house prices for 2022, our research has found that Aberdeen is the most affordable top 10 location in which to purchase a property, costing £149,464 on average.

Glasgow comes in as the second most affordable location with the average current house price being £164,382. Meanwhile in England, Derby comes in third place with the average house price being £185,925.

When it comes to renting, Derby is the most affordable of the top 10 location to raise a family, with average monthly rent costing £723, followed by Leicester (£834) and Aberdeen (£846).

Top locations for different priorities

Delving deeper into our research, we explored which locations in the UK are best for each individual metric analysed.

Recreational: Looking at local amenities, London, unsurprisingly, is home to the most libraries and museums, with 232 and 164 respectively. Meanwhile, Glasgow comes in second place with 101 libraries and 50 museums, and Edinburgh in third with 73 libraries and 50 museums.

Air quality: If it’s fresh air you’re looking for, it might not come as a surprise that the coastal city of Brighton and Hove has the lowest pollution rate, followed by Aberdeen and Luton.  

Education opportunities: Norwich (156), Northampton (102) and Glasgow (92) rank as the cities with the most on offer for schooling with the highest number of schools per 100,000 people.

Job opportunities: Bristol has the highest number of job opportunities with 1,493 roles per 100,000 people. Norwich follows closely behind with 1,487 vacancies per 100,000 residents, followed by Manchester (1,460 per 100,000).

Broadband speeds: For those working from home, a strong broadband speed is essential. Bristol and Kingston upon Hull both have the fastest speeds at 80 Mbps.

Crime rates: Norwich takes the crown as the safest city with the lowest crime rate, followed by Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Finding the city that has it all can be a challenge, especially since every family is unique. Alex Hasty, director at comparethemarket.com adds: “Our research looks at some of the biggest priorities that modern families consider when deciding where to raise a family, whether you’re a new parent, expecting or are planning to start a family soon. When taking this exciting step, it’s important to consider what kind of life insurance is right for you and your family, ensuring peace of mind for the days ahead.”

Methodology:

  • Disposable income: Historic ONS data was used to determine current disposable income. Data collected as at 16/02/22.

  • House prices: For current house prices, government data was used to collect an average price by type of property. West Northamptonshire used for Northampton. Data collected as at 16/02/22.

  • Rent prices: Numbeo used to determine average rent per city with the average of all 3 bedroom house options taken for each city.

  • Job opportunities: Government database was used to determine the number of jobs. Search function used with city name and blank job/skills search to find total number of results.

  • Schools: Government data for England to determine number of schools, Wikipedia and local government sources used for Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Cardiff.

  • Libraries and museums: Search made for "museum" or "library" within 10 miles of location via DataThistle.com. Permission to use obtained on 18/02/2022. Number of libraries for Norwich supplemented with local government data to improve accuracy. 

  • Crime: Numebo used to determine scores for crime per city.

  • Mortgage interest rates: Numebo used to determine mortgage interest rates per city.

  • Broadband speeds: Ofcom Connected Nations 2021 report used to determine broadband speeds per city. Average of London boroughs used to determine speed for London.

  • Pollution: Numbeo used to determine pollution score per city.

  • An index score was applied to all the metrics above in order to determine a ranking.

  • The 30 locations included in the study were selected by population size, using the following source for towns and cities: http://www.citymayors.com/