Page last updated at 00:25 GMT, Saturday, 19 December 2009

Aberdeenshire tops health and wealth living survey

Fraserburgh [Pic: Undiscovered Scotland]
Towns such as Fraserburgh enjoy the benefits of life in Aberdeenshire

Aberdeenshire offers the best quality of life in Scotland for its residents, according to a survey.

More than nine out of 10 people were said to be in good health, workers had relatively high incomes and almost 75% owned their home.

The area also had good results for employment and school qualifications, and rain and sunshine levels.

Aberdeenshire was ahead of East Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire in the Bank of Scotland survey.

Shetland, whose residents were ranked as having the best quality of life in the 2008 survey, came sixth this year, with Orkney seventh, and Edinburgh ninth.

It's such a great place to live, we're trying not to tell anyone
Mike Rumbles
West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MSP

Bank of Scotland economist Nitesh Patel said: "Aberdeenshire scores highly relative to the average for Scotland on several indicators, such as health, life expectancy, employment, average earnings, school results and climate.

"Two of the top 10 areas for quality of life lie off the Scottish mainland, the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands.

"These islands score well on high employment rates, low burglary rates, small class sizes and secondary school exam results."

The survey found Orkney's employment rate of 85.7% was the highest in Scotland, although workers in Stirling had the highest average earnings of £716 a week.

'Not surprised'

Houses in East Dunbartonshire were the biggest in Scotland, with an average of 4.9 rooms.

The lowest break-in crime rates were in the Western Isles, Dundee had the lowest average annual rainfall, and Aberdeen had the most hours of sunshine on average per week.

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles said: "I'm not surprised Aberdeenshire has been recognised as the best place to live in Scotland.

"We have excellent schools, a fantastic natural environment to enjoy and tremendous village community life."

He added jokingly: "It's such a great place to live, we're trying not to tell anyone."

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