BLOG: Is retirement really so grim up North?

Written by Natalie Tuck

As a proud Northerner it saddens me to learn that of the top five counties for which pensioners can expect to have the highest quality of life, not a single one, is in the North.

The Prudential Quality of Retirement Index ranks West Sussex as number one, followed by others on the South coast such as Dorset, East Sussex and Devon with Norfolk being the most northerly county on the list, but it is certainly not in the North.

The one relenting factor of the Index, is that the one Northern County which makes it into the top ten, is my home county of North Yorkshire. However, it is at the bottom of that list, in joint ninth place with Suffolk. Others in the top ten were Oxfordshire, Worcestershire and the Isle of Wight.

Prudential’s Index is based on a set of eight indicators, with each county scored out of 55. Those with the lowest score can expect a more happy and comfortable retirement than the rest of us. These include, the number of pensioners resident in the county’s population, disability-free life expectancy, access to healthcare, crime levels, the number of pensioners moving to the county, pension income, weather and healthy lifestyle data.

Commenting on the results, Prudential retirement income expert Stan Russell noted that the analysis shows the counties with the most attractive attributes tend to be along the southern and eastern coasts of England.

“Counties like West Sussex and Dorset may be attractive because of their low crime rates or the quality of their health care. However finding the right spot to live in such popular locations can be tricky. It is understandable that many people want to choose somewhere attractive to live in retirement.”

So is it really so bad to be a pensioner in the North?

If we take a look at North Yorkshire, which given its place in the top 10, can’t be that bad, it still seems to rank much lower than the leading West Sussex, especially in weather, health and lifestyle and disability-free retirement; however, noticeably, North Yorkshire has a much lower crime rate.

As part of my research I spoke to a pensioner in the North on retirement, to which they replied: “No, it’s alright up North, just don’t tell them Southerners, we don’t want them up here.” Unfortunately there are no stats for the rest of the North to be able to compare but I’d hope it’s not really so grim up North.

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