Those deciding where to live before having kids would do well to consider Bath, as it has been crowned the best city in the UK to raise a family in 2018, according MoneySuperMarket’s annual Family Living Index.
The level of ‘outstanding’ schools and local job opportunities helped Bath climb the charts, while last year’s winner, Newcastle Upon Tyne dropped to second place despite strong results, including an improved crime rate, an increase in Ofsted-rated ‘outstanding’ schools and a rise in disposable income.
Wolverhampton took third place, but at the bottom of the list, the least family-friendly cities were found to be London, Kingston upon Hull and Bristol.
The Family Living Index analyses 35 of the UK’s biggest cities against key factors that impact family life, including school rankings, access to green space, likelihood of burglary, house prices, job opportunities, average salary and disposable income.
Top five family-friendly cities (and why):
Bath – jumped up four places to grab the top spot, seeing improvement across almost all categories and a rise in the average salary at £34,686 – higher than the national average of £31,966. Bath also has the highest job availability of all cities analysed, with 13.76 jobs per 100 people.
Newcastle upon Tyne – dropped into second place despite posting strong results across almost all categories, including an increase in disposable income at £19,190 on average. The demotion is due to a reduction in job opportunities.
Wolverhampton – scored highly on jobs and affordable housing, with an average house price of £141,458. However, it missed out on the top two spots due to a lack of local parks.
Manchester – scored low on availability of green space, but house prices are comparatively low at an average of £173,381. School improvements and income increases, alongside a significant reduction in burglary rates, saw Manchester jump 12 places into the top five.
Swansea – scraped into the top five thanks to the highest park score of all cities analysed. It also saw an increase in the average household disposable income to £15,604.
Bottom five family-friendly cities (and why):
London – sky-high property prices, a higher crime rate and huge competition for school places, saw the capital feature at the bottom of the list for the second year running, despite high income and well-performing schools.
Kingston upon Hull – 2017’s city of culture came second-from-last despite a 7% drop in content theft claims. It scored particularly low on job opportunities, with a 20% increase in available jobs year-on-year.
Bristol – saw a decline in job opportunities and outstanding schools – combined with being the fifth most expensive city in which to purchase a home.
Leicester – saw the biggest decline against all metrics of all the cities analysed, including a 9% increase in content theft rates.
Brighton and Hove – has seen a 7% rise in property costs, with the average property at £361,075, compared to the national average of £191,590.
Families and parents can explore the metrics and find the city that best matches their requirements here.