The new Lisburn and Castlereagh District Council area has been named the top place to live in Northern Ireland.
An in-depth analysis of the 11 super-council areas revealed it was the district with the highest overall quality of life.
It has the lowest rates, the lowest unemployment, the highest earnings and joint highest life expectancy in Northern Ireland.
People living in Lisburn and Castlereagh live around two years longer than people living in the worst-performing council area, Derry and Strabane, which has the highest unemployment rate (8%) and the highest proportion of children in receipt of free school meals (28.7%). The lowest house prices were also in Strabane at £80,625, although Derry’s fared better at £90,350.
The analysis, carried out by Detail Data, examined a range of social and economic indicators, revealing wide differences across areas including education, health, employment and more.
Welcoming the study, MP for Lagan Valley Jeffrey Donaldson said: “I’m not a bit surprised by this result. I’ve always maintained that Lisburn is the best place to live in Northern Ireland – and now this survey proves it.
“The city has great schools, excellent infrastructure, low unemployment and great people. That’s not to say it’s perfect. There’s still a lot we can do to help Lisburn fulfil its potential and make it the city we know it can be.”
The key findings from the report include:
– The 11 new councils have inherited debt totalling more than £1billion, equivalent to nearly £550 for every person living in Northern Ireland;
– There is a difference of nearly 25% between the rates bills of similarly priced homes in different districts;
– Many other councils show poor results, including in Belfast, where poverty and overcrowding in deprived areas is blamed for low life expectancy and high levels of housing stress, and;
– The Antrim and Newtownabbey Council area has the lowest level of educational attainment with just 54% of pupils achieving five or more GCSEs (A* to C) including English and maths.
While the findings contained few surprises for people living in the north west, the survey has rekindled anger at the perceived lack of government investment in the area.
Commentator Eamonn McCann said: “This survey makes it abundantly clear that the north west continues to be systemically neglected, whether that is roads, rail, university and job creations, in comparison to other parts of the Northern Ireland.
“Fifty years ago this was the case, but then we knew to blame the unionist one-party state steeped in sectarianism, but who do we blame now?
“We have plenty of representation from the north west in Stormont that should be making more noise about the clear and obvious neglect.”
A representative from Derry City and Strabane District Council was not immediately available for comment.
How our council areas match up
1. Lisburn & Castlereagh
Average earnings: £20, 246
Average house price: £129,795
2. Ards and North Down
Average earnings: £19,035
Average house price: £119,725
3. Mid & East Antrim
Average earnings: £19,972
Average house price: £96,700
4. Fermanagh & Omagh DC
Average earnings: £17,435
Average house price: £95,000
5. Antrim & Newtownabbey BC
Average earnings: £19,355
Average house price: £109,975
6. Mid Ulster DC
Average earnings: £16,682
Average house price: £107,000
7. Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon BC
Average earnings: £18,322
Average house price: £95,300
8. Causeway Coast and Glens BC
Average earnings: £18,305
Average house price: £106,600
9. Belfast City Council
Average earnings: £19,388
Average house price: £100,000
10. Newry, Mourne and Down DC
Average earnings: £18,233
Average house price: £113,000
11. Derry City & Strabane DC
Average earnings: £16,580
Average house price: £85,500
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