Scotland boasts the highest quality of life for its residents among the home nations, a recent European study has suggested.
The findings come from the European Social Progress Index, a study that measures quality of life based on 50 separate indicators including nutrition, access to medical care, health and safety, water, education, personal rights, shelter and environmental quality.
The index provides a comprehensive analysis of social progress in 272 regions across the 28 European Union (EU) Member States. The UK comprises 37 of these areas, with Edinburgh statistics included in the Eastern Scotland region.
The investigation comes as part of the Social Progress Imperative, a new Brussels-based initiative aiming to improve the economy and quality of life within the EU.
The study does not measure factors such as GDP, income or employment.
Michael Green, Executive of the Social Progress Imperative, spoke to BBC Scotland on this issue.
“What we’ve done is we’ve left money to one side and instead looked at all the things that make up a good society from education to health, to tolerance, to the environment – all those different factors bundled together. And of the four nations of the United Kingdom, Scotland comes out number one”, said Green.
The overall scores of regions, as well as the scores for the different aspects of social progress, were graded on a scale from 1-100.
Overall, Scotland topped the home nations leader board with a score of 74.01.
Northern Ireland came second with 73.18 and England third with 72.68. Wales came lowest in the rankings with a score of 72.04.
Scotland outperformed all the other nations of the UK on issues such as tolerance, opportunity and access to basic knowledge.
However, the country was the weakest in areas of life expectancy and personal safety, scoring lower than its UK counterparts.
Eastern Scotland had the strongest performance of all Scottish regions, with an overall score of 74.84, achieving an overall ranking of 35th out of the 272 regions of the EU.
Overall, Scandinavia led the EU in social progress, with the Upper Norrland region of Sweden achieving a score of 82.33. Meanwhile, the lowest score recorded in the survey was South East Bulgaria, at just 39.72.
Image: Moyan Brenn