Talk to anyone who lives here and they'll tell you that Northern Ireland offers a high quality of life. And we'd agree! Small enough to get around easily (you can cross Northern Ireland by car in about 2 hours) but big enough to offer a great way of life and an amazing variety of experiences and activities, there are lots of brilliant reasons to consider living here.
People here are renowned as friendly and welcoming. Recent research conducted by Lloyds Banking Group for its annual Happiness Index in June 2020 placed Northern Ireland as the happiest place to live in the UK, with contentment levels here having increased by 6% on the previous year!
Northern Ireland has three airports (two of which are in the Greater Belfast area) with regular direct flights to the UK and Europe, and it is 2 hours by road or rail from Belfast to Dublin. Public transport is efficient and there is little congestion.
Northern Ireland offers a top-notch environment for living. In line with the rest of the UK, there is reasonable personal taxation, an excellent education system, a world-class healthcare system which is free and accessible to all and affordable properties.
More than 1100 international companies currently operate in Northern Ireland, including major US companies like Microsoft, AllState and Seagate, with IT a major industry sector. These companies have done their own research on living and working here, and it paints a clear picture of the benefits. Belfast is one of the most cost-effective cities in Western Europe to live in and TechNation research reports that Belfast is the best place to come to work as a software developer. The city ranked 2nd in the UK (behind London) and 9th overall in the Top 25 Tech Cities of the Future 2020/21, according to Global Outlook Tech Cities of the Future.
Property prices in Northern Ireland remain well below those in other UK locations and in the Republic of Ireland - around 75% lower than they are in London and 60% lower than Dublin. The majority of people living in Belfast and the surrounding area prefer to buy property rather than rent, and prices mean this is well within reach. Northern Ireland has reported the second-lowest crime rate in the UK for 2020 out of 43 nationwide police forces. As the top region with the lowest overall crime rate is the City of London (classed as a commercial area), this means Northern Ireland has the lowest residential crime rate in the UK.
For anyone thinking of relocating with a family, you'll be pleased to know that Northern Ireland is the top region in the UK for educational attainment, consistently coming out top at GCSE and A-Level exam level (the latter is equivalent to the US High School Diploma, the Republic of Ireland's Leaving Certificate and Scotland's Higher exams) and in 2019, 84.8% of Northern Ireland students achieved the three top grades at A-Level, compared to 75.8% in the rest of the UK.
Northern Ireland is developing as a progressive society, becoming ever-more multi-cultural and diverse. There are many organisations and networks whose remit is to support people from particular cultural backgrounds and minority groups – we can direct you to the relevant people if this would help you to settle in to life here.
If you're wondering about your leisure time, there is plenty to fill in your out-of-work hours! Northern Ireland's scenery is spectacular and between mountains and dramatic coastlines, you're spoilt for choice when it comes to locations for outdoor activities from hiking to watersports such as paddle-boarding and fishing - or even just a spectacular drive along the Antrim Coast! The food and restaurant scene is of international quality and - besides Ulster Orchestra concerts! - there are so many arts and cultural events and festivals, from pub backroom traditional sessions to international touring stars, you're bound to find something to appeal to your tastes.