By | October 18, 2011

The hundreds of thousands of expats who have chosen Spain as their new home will already know this…………….…but now it’s official.

The latest uSwitch Quality of Life index places Spain close behind France and just ahead of the Netherlands as a provider of one of the best lifestyles in Europe, while the UK limps in at last place.

In order to draw up a fair and accurate index uSwitch took many factors into consideration: living costs, work/life balance, government spending on health and education and days of sunshine, were all thought to provide reliable indicators of a happy existence.

Naturally, one would expect Spain to beat most other contenders in the sunshine stakes, but it also outshone the UK as a far more desirable place to live in many of the other categories. Spanish workers enjoy more holidays than their British counterparts (no surprise there!), but it is a little more shocking to learn that life expectancy is greater in Spain as well – could this be thanks to the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet, or could it be because British employees endure longer days and more stress at work?

Another cause of stress in the UK is the higher price of basic items such as fuel, food, cigarettes and alcohol, a situation not helped by Britain’s higher VAT rate. Spain is also a better place to be ill, with the government spending more on the health service.

Britain scored higher than Spain on investment in education and the rate of pay was judged more generous than Spain’s but, given that a recent poll revealed that only one in thirty Britons judged themselves quite happy with the state of their country, this was a small consolation.

During the preparation of the index, interviews were conducted with many British people, most of whom named Spain as the place that they would prefer to live. Despite its position at the top of the poll, only seven per cent of Brits said that they would choose to live in France if they had to live in any other European country, while 13 per cent named Spain.

The uSwitch report concluded that Spain had more to offer than sunshine: “The Spanish can expect to live a year longer than most people in the UK, they have the highest number of days holiday in Europe and the lowest prices for alcohol.”

source: Sur in English newspaper

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