Northern Irish 'happiest people in UK' and it's official
People in Northern Ireland are the happiest in the UK, according to official statistics.
The new figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) measuring life satisfaction, worthwhile and happiness found that Northern Ireland placed highest in all three categories, and lowest in anxiety ratings when compared with other parts of the United Kingdom.
The level of life satisfaction in the United Kingdom were found to have risen up to 7.7 out of 10, an increase from 7.6 the year before.
Nationwide levels of anxiety, rated at 2.9 out of 10, and people's feelings that what they do in life are worthwhile, rated at 7.9 out of 10, remained unchanged.
Speaking about the results, ONS spokesperson Matthew Steel said: "It's worth noting that employment rates rose during the period covered by this report, and other ONS analysis showed people perceiving an improvement in their own financial situations and in the overall economy."
Also released on Tuesday were statistics on the difference in lifestyle and happiness between rural and urban settings in Northern Ireland.
It was found that people living in the countryside are happier and live longer than their counterparts in the towns and cities.
Figures published by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs found that on average men living in a rural setting made it to age 79.9, while their urban counterparts have on average a lifespan 1.6 years shorter at 77.3 years.
The different was more marked for females, with women living in a rural setting expected to make it to 83.7 years, compared to 81.6 years for their urban counterparts - a difference of 2.1 years.
People living in a rural setting recorded higher personal happiness ratings, a metric recorded as part of the Continuous Household Survey where members of the public are asked to rate their own levels of happiness.
Those living outside of Northern Ireland's urban hubs didn't come out ahead on all fronts.
For earnings, people living in a rural setting earned a median of £343 a week, compared to £373 for those living in an urban area and £409 for those living in a rural area but within one hours of Belfast.
House prices in the country were also found to higher in rural areas, with a property in an urban area costing an average of £119,508 compared to £130,809 for a property in a rural setting more than an hour from Belfast or £145,133 for a rural property within an hour of Belfast.
Belfast Telegraph Digital