Shetland leapfrogs Aberdeenshire to take top spot in quality of life survey

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.”



Add Your Comment
  • Jonathan Wills

    • December 24th, 2011 11:50

    What a lovely Christmas present from the Bank of Scotland! Its latest survey finds Shetland is the best place to live in Scotland. We wonder if that has anything at all to do with the fact that, for the past three decades, the Shetland Charitable Trust, run by a board with more than 90% of its members elected by the public, has provided some “little extras” that make life here more civilised than in less fortunate parts of the country.

    How, exactly, will this wonderful record of public service, to the old, the disadvantaged, the young, the arts, sport and the environment, be improved by reducing the proportion of elected trustees to below 50%? No doubt we’ll be hearing full details in the New Year from the Shetland Undemocrats who plan to hijack the trust and its millions.

    Have a happy one!

    Cllr. Gary Robinson
    Cllr. Jonathan Wills
    Town Hall

  • R Poleson

    • December 24th, 2011 14:23

    I am sorry to say but that report is complete drivel and very misleading to people who do not know shetland, i will be lucky if i get £20 000 this year which is no where near the £31 460 pa the report suggests i earn. unless you are in a high up council, SVT or fishing then you are goin to be lucky to earn the sort of wages the report suggest we do, or then you are havein to work well above the european WTD hours. where in the report does it say about that i ask? Does it tell you that the affordable housing is only affordable if you earn over £25 000 per year, i would doubt it very much.

  • Mike Kapusniak

    • December 26th, 2011 12:15

    The public has never elected any of the members of the board of Shetland Charitable Trust. There is no provision in its rules for this to take place, so if such an election has happened, as our two councillors assert, such an election must have been contrary to Charity Law. The fact that we have councillors on the board of the Trust in such numbers is an historical anomaly which should have been rectified many years ago when Charity Law was altered to prevent obvious conflicts of interest. Councillors are politicians elected to do a political job. The qualities required of a trustee of a charity are entirely different.

    Yes, Shetland can be a great place to live. It can also be a hard one to live in if things go wrong or you are earning less than the average, as is the case with MOST workers in Shetland (note the difference between MEAN and AVERAGE). R Poleson’s wages are more typical than the £31,460 mentioned, and many dream of earning even £20,000 p.a. With so many in fuel poverty, such a high cost of travel within and outwith Shetland, added to the narrowness of the job market, life for many is not easy here. When times are tough, the unemployed and infirm who have family or support networks South, tend to leave Shetland. This keeps unemployment and bad health statistics here artificially low, and longevity statistics artificially high.

    I am thankful we have a Charitable Trust. I suggest that the deeds be changed so that a majority of the board members can be drawn by lot from a list of Shetland residents which will then include the unemployed, poor and sick, the have-nots as well as the haves, the disenfranchised as well as the political elite.

    Mike Kapusniak
    26 December 2011

  • Colin Hunter

    • December 26th, 2011 15:02

    Don’t suppose it says anything about hurricane force winds and the power being off for days at a time either! I feel sorry for the Hydro Men! Not much of a Christmas for them!


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