Raising a child can be a difficult experience anywhere, but a new ranking suggests that, on average, it is easier in some places than others.

The best (and worst) regions in England to raise a child have just been revealed by a new report - and it's not good news for the South East.

The report by lifestyle website Hugo and Me analysed indicators across six key areas including Ofsted ratings, crime rate, cost of childcare, average house price, amount of green space and air quality, to uncover England’s best city to raise your child.

The North East was uncovered as the best place to raise a child, performing favourably in categories such as Ofsted school ratings, cost of childcare, crime rate, air pollution and average house price.

The South East ranked as worst on the list, with low Ofsted ratings, high childcare costs, high house prices, limited access to green space and poor air quality.

London also performs poorly in many areas, with high crime rates, levels of air pollution, house prices and cost of childcare.

Here is a breakdown of the results - the full study and findings can be found here

London tops the Ofsted rankings

London came out on top with an excellent 31 per cent of schools ranked as “outstanding” and 62 per cent of schools ranked as “good”.

The South East, North West and North East all perform comparably in Ofsted rankings, with the vast majority ranked as either “outstanding” or “good”.

Bottom of this list is Yorkshire and the Humber, with only 16 per cent of schools ranked as “outstanding” and 13 per cent of schools listed as “requires improvement”.

The North East has the lowest crime rate

Government statistics on crime rates as reported in July of 2020 lists the North East as having by far the lowest number of recorded crimes out of any region, clearly leading in the category.

The region is known for having low crime rates and strong local communities, with a 2019 travel survey showing that visitors rated Newcastle the friendliest city in the UK and Government research showing that 84 per cent of people in the North East chat to neighbours at least once a month.

This region is clearly a winner in terms of community spirit and safety for your child.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, London is ranked as most crime-heavy according to Government records.

The region displayed a clear lead in regards to the highest number of crimes committed, with 1 in 3 knife crimes in the UK occurring in the capital.

Despite the high Ofsted ratings and opportunities of the capital, London has its drawbacks in regards to safety when choosing a location to raise your child.

The North East and East Midlands offer the cheapest childcare

Choose the North East or East Midlands for low-cost childcare. Nannies and babysitters are both cheapest in the North East, with the cost of a childminder also being significantly cheaper in the region than in other parts of the country.

Meanwhile, the East Midlands is the lowest-cost area for nurseries and ranks #2 in the other categories for lowest childcare costs.

Once again, London performs poorly here, with the most expensive childcare in all four categories, whilst the South East also ranks as expensive for childcare.

Childminder Average - £5.45

London - £6.82

South East - £6.50

North West - £4.84

South West - £4.51

West Midlands - £4.31

North East - £4.15

East Midlands - £4.13

Yorkshire and The Humber - £4.12

Babysitter Average - £9.08

London - £10.33

South East - £8.99

South West - £8.21

North West - £7.98

Yorkshire and The Humber - £7.89

West Midlands - £7.85

East Midlands - £7.55

North East - £7.37

Nanny Average - £10.43

London - £11.11

South East - £10.46

North West - £9.68

South West - £9.55

West Midlands - £9.48

Yorkshire and The Humber - £9.26

East Midlands - £9.19

North East - £8.85       

Average - £4.95

London - £6.47

North East - £5.15

South East - £5.03

Yorkshire - £4.88

North West - £4.87

West Midlands - £4.74

South West - £4.58

East Midlands - £4.46

The North East offers the most affordable housing

Once more, the North East ranks first in this category. Government statistics show that the North East is currently by far the cheapest region in the country for housing, with the average house costing almost £40,000 less than in the North West, the next cheapest region.

Other lower-cost regions for housing include the North West and Yorkshire.

London is again the clear worst performer in this category, with average house prices almost half a million pounds, or 3.8 times more expensive than the average house in the North East.

London has the most green spaces followed by the North East in second place

London comes out on top for nearby access to public green spaces such as parks and nature reserves.

Only 12,108 people in the area lack access to one of these locations, meaning the vast majority of the populace has somewhere to bring the kids for some time outdoors.

The importance of playtime outside has been proven to help children to develop physically and mentally as well as benefiting motor skills and spatial awareness; however, studies are showing that children today may be spending only half the time playing outside than their parents did.

The North East comes second for access to green space; only 88,682 of the population cannot get to a public green space within a 10-minute walk, placing the area significantly ahead of the rest of the country and giving it a distinct advantage over the South West, where a staggering 418,097 of the population cannot access a park or other green area within a 10-minute walk.

The North West has the lowest pollution levels

The North West has the least pollution in the city centres according to the most recent Air Quality Annual Status Reports. 

Air quality is hugely important for children and babies, as their lungs are still growing which makes them particularly vulnerable to high pollution levels.

Being exposed to air pollution as a child can trigger asthma and childhood cancer as well as infections like pneumonia.

The South West has the highest recorded pollution levels, as 97.7 ug/m³ of Nitrogen Dioxide was recorded on Chideock Hill, the area’s most polluted location.

Whilst choosing a location purely based on pollution levels in the city centre may not be practical or possible, it’s something to bear in mind when selecting a home for your children to grow up in.