'Heaven knows I'm miserable now' – Are Brummies REALLY some of the country's unhappiest people?
Written by The Newsroom on December 8, 2019
It is an image as old as time – and don’t we just love playing down to it?
From Tony Hancock to the ironically-named website, Birmingham It’s Not S**t, self-depracation – maybe even dourness – is part of our DNA.
And so the claim this week that the city was among the least happy places in the country’s least happy region was no great surprise.
The only thing to be happy about? We’re not as miserable as Walsall, at least according to property website Rightmove.
But is it true? Can those of us living and working in Birmingham – full of skyscrapers and Christmas bonhomie – really be as sour as all that?
We asked eight people in the city centre for their verdict – and whether they were happy themselves.
Here’s what they said.
Tara Richards, aged 21, from Birmingham
Are you happy? Yes and no
Why do you think Birmingham rated so badly? “There’s a lot of poverty, the council cares about buildings rather than people.
“They only care about private housing they don’t want to help the homeless, they’re not putting people in these big glass buildings. They don’t want to help people get on the ladder to help themselves.”
Nigel Driffield, aged 53, from Coventry
Are you happy? Yes, but maybe because I live in a small village and commute in.
Why do you think Birmingham rated so badly? Birmingham is seen as having been left behind a bit, the shiny buildings are meaningless to the people living here. I suspect Manchester and Liverpool were voted some of the happiest places to live.
Tony Turner, aged 29, from Birmingham
Are you happy? Yes I am, content.
Why do you think Birmingham rated so badly? I have no idea, maybe because of the weather? Because it’s more northern it’s cold. I guess we are quite grumpy but I couldn’t tell you why we’re the most unhappy.
James McCluskey, senior citizen
Are you happy? I’m happy as happy can be, yes I am happy for a working-class man.
Why do you think Birmingham rated so badly? Has it really been rated that? I the city centre is great, I like the regeneration around the Symphony Hall and the Chinese Quarter and the courts, they’re all great. I’m more south Birmingham and Solihull, though, so I can only talk about central Birmingham, not the inner city or the outskirts.
Gary Owen aged 40, from Kings Heath
Are you happy? Fairly happy, I’ve lived here all my life and I can’t complain .
Why do you think Birmingham rated so badly? Probably the recent stabbings and crime, the morale is low.
Richard Aylesbury, aged 34, from Cannock
Are you happy? I’m happy, I’m always happy and grateful for what I’ve got.
Why do you think Birmingham rated so badly? It can be depressing with the amount of inequality.
It can be miserable with all the homelessness and begging on street corners. I’ve been with people from out-of-town who have asked why the council doesn’t do something about the homelessness problem.
Tash Hobson, aged 22, from Warwick
Are you happy? Sometimes
Why do you think Birmingham rated so badly? I mean, that’s pretty valid. There’s no support for the homeless, there aren’t the systems in place for them. I also find people quite unfriendly.
Mohammed Awan, aged 28, from Birmingham
Are you happy? Yeah I’m happy.
Why do you think Birmingham rated so badly? Maybe people don’t like the expense of transport or their commute to work. I guess it is only the city centre that’s nice really.
Property website Rightmove said it surveyed residents across the country on community spirit, friendliness, safety, and earning enough money to live comfortably
The South-West of England was the happiest region, with Hexham in Northumberland taking top spot for individual location.
The miserable Midlands – how we ranked in the happiness stakes:
Happiest to least happy locations
1: Leamington Spa
5: Sutton Coldfield
Here are the top ten happiest places to live, according to Rightmove, with the average asking price for a home and the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom property:
Hexham, North East, £254,237, £605
Harrogate, Yorkshire and the Humber, £341,524, £776
Richmond-upon-Thames, London, £815,717, £1,723
Skipton, Yorkshire and the Humber, £233,274, £622
Llandrindod Wells, Wales, £145,016, £478
Altrincham, North West, £520,899, £915
Monmouth, Wales, £310,050, £665
Dorchester, South West, £295,124, £799
Sevenoaks, South East, £684,806, £1,241
Southport, North West, £209,360, £609
The regions ranked – happiest to least happy
East of England
Yorkshire and the Humber
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