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Ireland 'third-worst place to live in Europe', says British study

A survey of ten countries, most of them in Western Europe, puts Ireland third-from-last – largely because of the weather.

Ireland's poor weather was one of the reasons that caused its low ranking in the uSwitch quality of life index.
Ireland's poor weather was one of the reasons that caused its low ranking in the uSwitch quality of life index.
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

IRELAND HAS BEEN ranked as the third-worst place in Europe in which to live, by an index carried out by a British-based price comparison website.

Uswitch’s Quality of Life index ranked Ireland in eighth spot in its comparison of ten countries, having compared each by their average retirement age, life expectancy, and government spending on education and health.

Chief among the factors that dragged Ireland below the 10-country average were the relatively small time allotted for holidays – Ireland’s 29 compared to an average of 33.5 – and, bizarrely, its weather and climate.

Ireland only enjoyed 1,341 hours of sunshine a year – the equivalent of just under eight weeks’ worth – while the EU average was 1,756.

Ireland was also below average on life expectancy – with the average Irish person likely to live for 79.8 years, around six months less than the average.

France topped the index, with its longer working week (38 hours, versus Ireland’s 35) offset by an early retirement age, at 60, as well as a longer life expectancy of 81.4 years and some 2,124 hours of sunshine a year.

France’s ranking was also boosted by its expenditure on health, which was the equivalent of 14.1 per cent of GDP last year – compared to Ireland’s 13.5 per cent, and the European average of 12 per cent.

The UK came bottom of the list, with employees only getting 28 days’ holiday a year, while health and education spending were both lower than the European mean.

Spain was the second-best country of the ten which were included, ahead of the Netherlands, Italy and Germany.

(Click on the infographic below to load a full-resolution version.)

Read: uSwitch’s Quality of Life index in full >

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Gavan Reilly

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