Prudential Analysis Reveals Dorset Is the Best Place to Retire in England and Wales

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New Prudential analysis reveals four of the top ten places to retire in the UK are in the South West of England.

Dorset is the best place in England and Wales to retire, according to new analysis from Prudential. Pensioners in the county enjoy the highest quality of life based on a new quality of retirement index that has been developed by the insurer using a selection of publicly available ONS data.

The new index ranks the local authority areas within England and Wales, based on a score calculated using Prudential’s set of core quality of retirement indicators – including good health, home ownership, marital status, and propensity to travel among the over 65s, as well as the percentage of the population providing ongoing unpaid care.

Topping Prudential's quality of retirement index, Dorset was ranked in the top 10 per cent of all English and Welsh local authority areas for three of the core indicators – good health, property ownership and marriage. It was also significantly above average for retirees' propensity to travel (indicated by the percentage of pensioners who hold a passport), and has a higher than average percentage of people who provide ongoing unpaid care. Dorset's overall quality of retirement index score is 46 out of a possible 50.

Other locations which will be of interest to those planning their retirement include Solihull, which ranked second highest with a score of 44 out of 50. Joint third were Buckinghamshire, North Somerset and the Vale of Glamorgan with 42.

Wokingham, Hampshire, Monmouthshire, Poole and South Gloucestershire tied for sixth place with a retirement index score of 41 out of 50. This means that the South West of England holds four of the top ten ranking areas.

Vince Smith-Hughes, retirement expert at Prudential, said: "Our analysis clearly shows that the quality of life experienced by retirees varies significantly across the country. However, it is not always possible for people to up sticks and move to a location they consider to be more desirable, when the time comes to give up work. Family ties and the cost of moving home often dictate where people find themselves living as pensioners.

"People looking to secure a retirement in an area where the quality of life is already high, or those simply looking to be as financially comfortable as possible when they give up work, are well advised to follow the simple rule of saving as much as possible as early as possible in their working lives.

"The decisions that retirees are faced with can be the biggest they will ever have to make. To take best advantage of the newly introduced flexible retirement income choices, professional financial advice should form a vital part of preparation for retirement."

This new analysis backs up previous research from Prudential which revealed that Dorset has one of the highest retirement populations in the country. The county is home to three of the top 10 hotspots for pensioners, including the UK's unofficial capital of retirement – the historic town of Christchurch.

The information contained in Prudential UK's press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions. Full consumer product information can be found at

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Jo Field- 020 7004 8078 / jo(dot)field(at)prudential(dot)co(dot)uk
Celine Plum- 020 7004 8009 / celine(dot)plum(at)prudential(dot)co(dot)uk

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Notes to editors

1. Quality of retirement has been ranked using figures based on Prudential analysis of information sourced from the 2011 Census. The following factors (by percentages) across 174 local authorities in England and Wales have been used to determine these rankings:

  • Home ownership in retirement among over 65s
  • Health in retirement among over 65s
  • Retirees married or in same sex partnerships
  • The propensity of over 65s to travel (percentage with passports)
  • People who provide unpaid care, (for example to children, grandchildren, a partner, or to other relatives and friends)

For each of these factors, the top 170 out of 174 local authorities have been split into decile groups, and given a corresponding score between 10 and one, with the bottom four local authorities receiving zero, i.e. for each factor, the top 17 local authorities scored 10 points, the next 17 scored 9 points, etc. These scores were then all added together to provide a score out of 50, with each factor equally weighted. These scores are the basis for the overall rankings.

2. Previous Prudential release: Historic Dorset town is UK’s retirement capital (13 September 2013)

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Jo Field
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Celine Plum
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