Rural residents are more than twice as likely to love the area they live in compared with city dwellers, says a new survey.

The study, by NFU Mutual, found that Yorkshire, the North East and the South West had the highest number of residents who enjoyed life.

The Countryside Living Index survey of 1,300 rural residents found most were satisfied with the cost of living, health, education and the environment – but crime and the fear of crime was causing unease.

Richard Percy, chairman of NFU Mutual, said: “It’s great to see people living in the countryside enjoy it so much they’re prepared to declare their ‘love’ for it.

“Busy cities may have an abundance of amenities and vibrant high streets to offer, but this is clearly no match for the fresh air, outdoor pursuits and community spirit cherished by those who live in the countryside.

“Crime is the main bone of contention for country folk. We’re working with our members to make it much more difficult for criminals to succeed in the countryside, helping to reduce this blot on an otherwise idyllic way of life.”

For the survey, quality of life was measured across six key areas and residents’ views/satisfaction in each was measured, namely; cost of living, health, economic conditions, education, the environment and crime.

Overall throughout the survey period (April-June 2012), satisfaction with the quality of life in rural areas rose across five out of six surveyed areas, compared to the prior three months, namely; the cost of living (+8.9%), health (+1.2%), economy (+2.2%), education (+1.3%) and environment (+1.5%).

The only exception to the rule was crime, with a 1.6% fall in how satisfied people were about levels of crime and the fear of crime.

This supports the findings of NFU Mutual’s rural crime survey last month, which reported theft to UK agriculture rose 6% in 2011 to an estimated £52m.


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