Aberdeenshire has the highest standard of living in Scotland, according to a new survey.
The area came third in the same survey last year
The council area came out top in a study of living standards in Scotland's 32 local authorities, commissioned by the Bank of Scotland.
Factors taken into account included employment, the housing market, environment, education and health.
Aberdeenshire was found to have 81% employment, one of the highest life expectancies and low crime rates.
People living in the area earned above the Scottish average of £549 a week, lived until the age of 77 on average and had a good general level of health.
The local authority improved on its performance last year, when it was ranked third.
The Quality of Life Survey indicated standards of living in northern and central Scotland were higher than in other parts of the country.
Five of the council areas in the top 10 were in the north, and four were in the central belt.
East Dunbartonshire was in second place, followed by the Orkney Islands, the Shetland Islands, and East Lothian in fifth position.
However a Bank of Scotland spokesman refused to reveal which authorities had performed worst.
Tim Crawford, group economist at Bank of Scotland, said: "A strong economy, along with good schools and a low crime rate have helped Aberdeenshire to become the area with the best quality of life in Scotland in 2007.
"However, living in Aberdeenshire comes at a price with house prices 21% above the Scottish average.
"Moray, Angus and the Orkney and Shetland Islands are areas which have a high quality of life, but also have lower than average house prices, offering good value for money housing."
Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Forum development manager Rita Stephen welcomed the findings, which she said proved that Aberdeenshire was a "wonderful place to live, work, visit and enjoy."
She added: "This is great news. The business community felt very strongly that one of the key strengths of our region is its quality of life and to be able to attract people and investment we have to maintain and enhance our quality of life.
"Quality of life means different things to different people but, by and large, education, transport, housing, leisure, medical facilities and safe communities are all factors in making a region a great place in which to live and work."
The survey also found the Shetland Islands had the highest employment rate at 85%, while the highest average earnings were in Stirling at £640 a week.
While Aberdeen and Dundee both have the most hours of sunshine in Scotland.