Happiness is…living in the Highlands and Islands

© DC ThomsonTraditional bagpiper in the scottish highlands by Glencoe
Traditional bagpiper in the scottish highlands by Glencoe

The Highlands and Islands has been named as the happiest place to live in Scotland, according to the latest Bank of Scotland Happiness Index.

The annual survey asked Scots to take everything about the place they live into account and to rate it -using a barometer ranging between minus 100 indicating very unhappy, to plus 100 meaning very happy.

Those living in the region highlighted the area’s rural nature with a strong sense of community as being key to their positive outlook.

People living in the North East are 10 points happier than they were five years ago – with them being the fifth happiest in Scotland this year.

Overall, Scots are slightly less happy than last year as the index recorded a score of 44.6, a small decrease of 0.3 compared to 2018.

However; that’s still 5.6 points happier than they were four years ago.

Mid-Scotland and Fife is the second happiest region, followed by South Scotland.

Those living in Glasgow have less cause for cheer, as they report being the unhappiest in the country.

Getting older doesn’t necessarily mean becoming grumpier as the index reveals that the over 65s remain the happiest age group.

Two’s company when it comes to a happy home – as households with two residents say they’re the happiest.

Scots with a household income of more than £60,000 are happiest, with those earning less than £15,000 the least happy.

Veteran Highland councillor Margaret Paterson said she wasn’t surprised by the table, she said: “I moved to Australia from the Highlands when I was first married, and I was desperate to get back home. Apart from those five years – I have always lived here. It is a wonderful place to live and to bring up a family, or to retire to.

“I meet so many people who want to come and live here for the lifestyle and the scenery, but we won’t mention the weather, it is absolutely beautiful.”

Ricky Diggins, a Bank of Scotland director, said: “More remote locations can present some challenges to everyday life, particularly around areas such as transport, but locals highlight the natural environment and sense of community as being key to their happiness.

“We can see that happiness continues to increase the older we get, though this could also be linked to higher incomes as people progress through life.”