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It's official: Happiness is living in Cornwall

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: July 25, 2012

'Happiness is living in Cornwall'

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Cornwall has been hailed as one of the best places to live in the country after charting close to the top of David Cameron's first annual "happiness" index.

The average resident in the Duchy rates their "life satisfaction" as 7.72 out of 10, according to the Office for National Statistics.

It means Cornwall is the sixth-highest area out of 142 in the UK on the happiness measure, and second from top in England.

Of 973 people surveyed in Cornwall, 80% said they were content with their lives.

Devon was placed 32nd in the UK for "life satisfaction", with a 7.56 out of 10 rating. Some 79.3% of 1,048 residents polled said they were happy with their lot.

Plymouth was given 7.51 out of 10 by local people, ranking the city 47th in the country after polling 953 residents. Some 78.1% said they were happy with life.

Torbay appears to be the unhappiest area in the region. People living on the English Riviera gave the area a "life satisfaction" rating of 7.17 out of 10, putting it ninth from bottom compared to the rest of the UK.

Just 70.6% of 948 people questioned said they were satisfied with life in Torbay. More than 200,000 people were questioned nationally under the Prime Minister's plan to find ways for Government policy to improve well-being. Labour criticised the £2 million study as a "statement-of-the-bleeding-obvious".

The region's high standing reflected its good schools, low crime rate and stunning coast and countryside, observers say.

Cornwall-based two-starred Michelin chef and restaurateur Nathan Outlaw said the findings rang true as there was no better place to have a family. Only rural Rutland, in the East Midlands, scored more highly in England.

Mr Outlaw, whose flagship is a fine dining restaurant and brasserie in Rock, North Cornwall, said: "I have young children and there is nowhere else we would rather be. I am originally from the South East but this is a different world. From a business point of view, sometimes it can be difficult, but the beauty of the place helps to deal with that."

The Camel Estuary is among the highlights of the region's natural environment, the chef said, adding: "Life in the city can pass you by in a flash: here you can enjoy life."

Cornwall Council Tory leader Alec Robertson said: "This comes as no surprise to me. I am delighted by this confirmation of what I have always known – that Cornwall is a great place to live."

Nick Harvey, Liberal Democrat MP for North Devon, said: "Devon should not just be looked at as a beautiful place to live, but a place where businesses can thrive. The high quality of life and satisfaction among residents makes it an ideal place to invest.

"Despite these positive findings, we must remember the difficulties that some of our communities face. I for one will keep up the pressure for a fairer deal for Devon's schools and public services."

The UK average was 7.4 out of 10. Women tended to have a greater sense than men of life satisfaction and that what they do is worthwhile, but also reported higher levels of anxiety. People aged 16 to 19 and 65 to 79 displayed the highest levels of satisfaction, the ONS found.

Michael Dugher, Labour's Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, said: "This is a statement-of-the-bleeding-obvious, a waste of taxpayers' money and it makes ministers look even more out of touch.

"You don't need a 'happiness index' to know that people without a job are unhappier than people in work – and we have over a million young people unemployed."

Plymouth is the 'capital of glum'

The “happiness index” could also have been dubbed the “worry count”, as it measured levels of anxiety too.According to the Office for National Statistics, Plymouth is the capital of glum in the South West. Asked whether they felt “anxious yesterday”, 43% of residents in the city gave a high or very high rating. This is compared to 36% in Devon and 39% in Cornwall. The UK average is 40%. Oliver Colvile, Conservative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, said: “I feel anxious every day on behalf of my constituents. “We are the largest urban conurbation west of Bristol and by definition living in a city is much more stressful than living in the countryside. We have a lot of people working very hard to make ends meet.”

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  • tuftyaurelius  |  July 26 2012, 11:23PM

    KernowQueen, what's better a natural outdoor rainforest as in Brazil or a domed one in Cornwall? Have you seen the one in British Columbia albeit not a rainforest? The "Earth is but one country" and I'm a handsome Earthling!

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  • KernowQueen  |  July 26 2012, 8:54PM

    Why are people so small minded and presume that if you are from Cornwall you are simple, stupid, un-successful, have never been more than 5 miles your village and can't handle a motorway?! That really is small minded and completely pathetic. How sad must your life be to comment and make judgment on a County you do not even live in!? If it is so bad, why do people choose to come and live here..... Cornwall has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. We have the third largest natural harbor in the world and have events such as the "World J Class Yacht Regatta" right on our front door step. Where else could you watch artists and bands perform on a summers night with the backdrop of the Eden Project, the largest indoor rain forest in the world? So whilst you ponder on that lasting thought, this Cornish gal (born and bred) sits ere eating err pasttyyy on a tractorrr, trailerrrr, com-bine-balerrr, with one thang to say to theeee..... "Kernow bys Vyken" which translates to, Kernow for ever!

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  • tuftyaurelius  |  July 25 2012, 11:17PM

    And yet some of the indigenous people that live here are nepotistic, xenophobic, smug, inbred amd utterly smallminded????!!!! Yet another, self-serving unscientific survey...

  • Bagabagaboom  |  July 25 2012, 10:25PM

    Of course those who live in Cornwall are happy, they are a simple lot, most of them have never been more than 5 miles from their village. Imagine what they would make of motorways ! imagine what they would make of a balanced diet that didn't revolve around pasties. They are simple and happy and we should leave them that way.

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  • poldice  |  July 25 2012, 9:58PM

    EVIDENCE!!! EVIDENCE!!! JUST LISTEN TO THE ACCENTS DOPEY... but then you dont live here do you??? But then again if you did live here you would just be another statistic because you are a problem... just thankful you are someone elses. NOW GET GOING WITH THE RED ARROWS IT WILL TAKE MORE THAN THEM TO STOP ME SADDO.

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  • Slimslad  |  July 25 2012, 2:52PM

    DUMP SOCIAL PROBLEMS FROM ELSEWHERE ON US Evidence? Used as a dumping ground for problem families Evidence?

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  • TheodoreV  |  July 25 2012, 2:24PM

    Given that Cornwall has never had more people with alcohol or drugs-related problem, perhaps this explains the results of the survey. They were all high! Ho! Ho! The sun is shining and I'm off to the beach. "The hospital admissions rates for males and females under the age of 18 for alcohol-specific conditions for all of the South West districts. It is seen that for both males and females, Cornwall's districts have some of the highest admission rates in the South West. There is something of an east-west divide evident with the highest rates in the western most districts." Extract: CORNWALL AND ISLES OF SCILLY Young People's Specialist Substance Use Treatment Needs Assessment 2010/2011

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  • ycpeeling  |  July 25 2012, 1:49PM

    The top 5 were 'Eilean Siar, Orkney & Shetland', 'Rutland', 'Anglesey', 'Wiltshire' and 'West Berkshire' - so not sure how the article can claim Cornwall is 2nd from top in England?!

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  • poldice  |  July 25 2012, 10:59AM


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  • DartingtonHT  |  July 25 2012, 10:34AM

    We're running a festival on this topic at Dartington in Devon in October: Interrogate! Happiness Festival - http://tinyurl.com/c8xkesf Ahead of it we've been posing the question 'What makes you happy?' - the results have ranged from cheese (!) to sunshine to helping others. Would be interested to hear what makes Western Morning News readers happy – let us know on Facebook.com/interrogatefestival or email happy@dartington.org