Who lives in a house like this?

Dorothy said it best with the phrase ‘there’s no place like home,’ but what really are the criteria for making a happy home? According to a nationwide study(1) commissioned by O2 Home Broadband to support its Happy Homes campaign, you are more likely to live in a happy home if you can tick the following seven criteria:

1) You live in Brighton. 94% of Brighton residents claim they have a happy home compared with the national average of 85%. Other cities at the top of the happy homes league table include Leeds (92%), Edinburgh (91%) and Cardiff (90%). Belfast (71%), Coventry and Newcastle (both 75%) reside at the bottom of the league table

2) You are aged 45 or over. Forget the Victor Meldrew stereotype; the older we get, the happier our homes become. 85% of people aged 45 or over said they had a happy home, compared with 75% of those aged between 16 and 24

3) You are married. 88% of married people describe their home as happy compared with just 70% of singletons. Perhaps surprisingly, 84% of divorcees claim they too live in happy homes!

4) You have two or more children. Families with two or more children are happier (84%) than those without children (73%)

5) You earn between £25-34k. An average salary(2) brings the most happiness (89%), though it appear that money can buy happiness with high-flyers earning £55k only just behind (87%)

6) You have friendly neighbours. 50% of respondents claim that having a good relationship with their neighbours helps create a happy home. Outdoor space to enjoy the British weather ranks highly (48%) as does living close to family members (38%)

7) You have a broadband connection. Surfing the net has now truly become a way of life with nearly four in ten (39%) saying broadband is the item they cannot live without, well ahead of a television (23%), a dishwasher (5%) or a shed (1%)

Based on the findings of the study, O2 have worked with Ben Renshaw, director of The Happiness Project, to create the following formula which unravels the mystery of what makes a happy home:

H = (Rs + Nc) x (A + Hi)

Ia + Fn

H = Happiness; Rs = Relationship status; Nc = number of children; A = Age; Hi = Household income; Ia = Internet access; Fn = Friendly neighbours

“With 90% of people stating that their home environment has a positive impact on their happiness levels, it is clear just how important it is to maintain a happy home,” said Renshaw. “Whether it’s trying to argue less with those we live with, giving our homes a good spring clean every now and then or making sure we have a spare bag of sugar for a neighbour in need, it can bring us one step closer to feeling better about the place we live.”

Charlotte Barrow from VisitBrighton.com said ‘’We’re not surprised to hear that Brighton has the happiest homes. We have all the benefits of living in a city – such as the culture, shopping, restaurants and nightlife – with the added bonus of being by the sea which keeps us relaxed and calm. Also, as Brighton is a compact place, people generally walk around: this means they get to know their neighbours, adding to the friendly and welcoming atmosphere of the city.”

The Happy Homes study also investigated the activities we undertake in our houses that make us the happiest, what home comforts we most desire and how much we spend on our houses per month to maintain a happy balance.

According to the survey, Brighton has the happiest homes and Belfast has the unhappiest homes in the UK.

The Happy Homes league table

1. Brighton – 93.8%

2. Leeds – 91.9%

3. Edinburgh – 91.3%

4. Cardiff – 90.2%

5. Plymouth – 88%

6. Birmingham – 87.2%

7. Liverpool -87.1%

8. Sheffield – 86.1%

9. London – 84%

10. Southampton – 83.8%

11. Manchester – 83%

12. Bristol – 81.7%

13. Glasgow – 76.7%

14. Nottingham – 75.4%

15. Newcastle – 75%

15. Coventry – 75%

16. Belfast – 70.6%

-ends-

(Regional releases available on request)