High earnings and employment, low levels of crime, good education, affordable housing and above average life expectancy. All the indices with which Shetland residents are familiar have been totted up in an annual survey which this year suggests we enjoy the highest quality of life in Scotland.
The Bank of Scotland study reports that the employment rate is the highest in the country, close to 84 per cent, while weekly average earnings are £605 (compared with a national average of £575).
Folk in the isles tend to be fit and well, with 93 per cent saying they are in good or fairly good health while life expectancy at just over 77 years is above average.
The level of school qualifications is also above the national average – 91 per cent of S4 pupils achieve five or more level 4 awards, the highest in the country along with East Dunbartonshire (the Scottish average is 78 per cent).
Few places have lower crime rates; population density is low with just 15 people per square kilometre; house prices are on average 4.2 times average gross local earnings, below the Scottish average of 4.7.
The only drawback, which will come as no surprise, is that we enjoy three fewer hours of sunshine a week than the rest of the country.
Nitesh Patel, economist at the Bank of Scotland, said: “This year the Shetland Islands top the Bank of Scotland Quality of Life Survey. The islands score highly relative to the average for Scotland on several indicators, such as health, life expectancy, employment, average earnings, school results and low crime rates. Even average house prices are relatively low in relation to earnings, highlighting that a high standard of living does not always come at a price.”