Hertfordshire named best place to raise a family

Harpenden Common

Harpenden Common - Credit: Archant

A new study has confirmed what we’ve long suspected – that St Albans and Harpenden are two of the best places in the UK to bring up kids.

A combination of good pay, decent weather and top GCSE grades have helped Hertfordshire top the 2016 uSwitch Better Family Life Index.

The index ranks 138 local authorities on 33 things considered key to a happy family life, with access to fast broadband and GP surgeries also helping give us the edge.

Hertfordshire recorded the third highest employment levels in England, with 81 per cent of residents aged 16-64 in work - and earning a healthy average salary of £33,435.

Herts was also placed seventh for exam results, with 64 per cent of pupils achieving five or more A* to C grades at GCSE (including English and maths).

The index ranked Cambridgeshire and Central Bedfordshire in second and third place, making the East of England the place to be for happy families.

All three regions enjoy conveniently-located amenities, with the average resident living just nine minutes from their GP, and under 10 minutes from their local primary school.

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The top three also benefit from plenty of sun – an average of 4 hours 34 minutes each day – and an average of 4 hours 51 minutes per day of quality family time.

Residents also sleep better and receive two days more holiday per year than the national average of 25 days.

Bottom of the list were the mainland areas of East and North Ayrshire in Scotland, which were let down by high crime, low pay and slower than average download speeds.

Here in Herts we’re averaging broadband speeds of 38Mbs - twice as fast as the 19Mbs average over in East and North Ayrshire.

Tashema Jackson, uSwitch.com money expert, says: “The Better Family Life Index shows that life is far from equal for families across the UK. Although there is much to celebrate in many areas, it’s not surprising that so many families are thinking about moving to a new region to improve their circumstances.”

Do you think the index paints an accurate picture of family life in Hertfordshire? Email jane.howdle@archant.co.uk to let us know what you think.