The Best Places to Make a Living in the UK 2018

It’s easy to think that large cities, such as London and Birmingham, offer the best opportunities when it comes to making a living — and to some extent, this is true.

However, when you consider other lifestyle factors, this isn’t always the case. Our research shows that living in some of the UK’s smaller towns and cities could mean you have more in your pocket overall.

By looking at median monthly take-home salary, average monthly mortgage repayment, cost of living, unemployment levels, and job growth, we’ve ranked 59 UK towns in order, from best place to earn a living to worst.

Look at our interactive table to see how the towns and cities ranked.


Best performing locations

South East England surfaces as one of the best locations to make a living, with five towns featuring in the top 10.

Position Town
1 Crawley
2 Derby
3 Southampton
4 Edinburgh
5 Gloucester
6 Milton Keynes
7 Reading
8 Swindon
9 Oxford
10 Slough
11 Leeds
12 York
13 Bristol
14 Luton
15 Wakefield
16 Warrington
17 Burnley
18 Glasgow
19 Telford
20 Preston
21 Newport
22 Blackpool
23 Mansfield
24 Kingston upon Hull
25 Dundee
26 Portsmouth
27 Peterborough
28 Stoke
29 Bournemouth
30 Newcastle
31 Cardiff
32 Aldershot
33 Northampton
34 Sunderland
35 Ipswich

The research, however, shows Brighton as the worst place to make a living in the south east of England. This is largely due to low-level earnings and high mortgage payments.

South East Scores
Position Town
1 Crawley
3 Southampton
7 Reading
9 Oxford
10 Slough
26 Portsmouth
33 Aldershot
40 Worthing
41 Chatham
58 Brighton

Worst performing locations

The east of England is shown to be one of the worst locations to make a living, with three towns ranking in the bottom 10.

Position Town
36 Sheffield
37 Middlesbrough
38 London
39 Worthing
40 Chatham
41 Liverpool
42 Manchester
43 Coventry
44 Aberdeen
45 Birmingham
46 Nottingham
47 Bradford
48 Wigan
49 Cambridge
50 Norwich
51 Exeter
52 Leicester
53 Doncaster
54 Basildon
55 Huddersfield
56 Birkenhead
57 Brighton
58 Southend
59 Swansea

If your heart is really set on the east of England, Milton Keynes and Luton could be better options if you want to make your pockets bulge, with the towns scoring 6th and 14th respectively.

East England Scores
Position Town
6 Milton Keynes
14 Luton
27 Peterborough
36 Ipswich
50 Cambridge
51 Norwich
55 Basildon
59 Southend

Check our interactive table to see how your town scores.