It's official: Happiness is living in Cornwall
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.
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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.”