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The UK’s top and bottom cities for disposable income revealed: Derby tops list, while Brighton is last

  • Derby residents left with £1,456 per month, the highest amount of any UK city
  • Those in Brighton receive the least, keeping just £751
  • Despite earning the most, Londoners’ disposable income is just £12 above the UK average in the study

10 October, 2018, LONDON –

The UK city where residents have the most disposable income has been revealed to be Derby, with locals enjoying an average of £1,456 to spend per month after after tax, bills and general (essential) outgoings such as travel and food. Derby residents earn around £200 a month above the national average, and have the second lowest cost of living in the study.

The analysis by personal finance comparison website compared average city salaries against local rent and other standard monthly outgoings for 30 UK cities to find who enjoys the most, and least, disposable income.

Residents in Reading earn the second highest wage in the study (£2,473 per month) helping them to keep £1,287 after bills. This is followed by Southampton as the third ‘wealthiest’ city, where the figure is £1,264.

This is significantly more than the British average in the study, which sees people keep an £1,083 per month after expenses and tax, to spend on non-essentials. The average monthly wage is £2,073, while the average (essential) outgoings, such as rent, travel and food, total £990.

At the bottom end of the scale, residents of Brighton are left with only £751 every month to spend on non-essentials. This is almost half the amount of those in Derby, and is due to Brighton having the fifth highest living costs (£1,170) but also the seventh lowest average salary (£1,921) in the study.

The second ‘poorest’ city for disposable income is Norwich, where the lowest monthly salary in the study (£1,762), leaves locals with £872 every month. The third worst city to live in for spare cash is Plymouth, where the figure is £937.

Despite having the highest average wage in the country of £2,724 per month, Londoners’ disposable income is £1,095, only £12 above the UK average in the study, as their monthly outgoings of £1,629 are also over £350 more than any other city.

Residents of Hull have the lowest outgoings of any city in the UK at £767 per month, although a lower monthly wage of £1,816 means their disposable income is £1,049, which is below the study’s UK average.

To see the full list of monthly disposable income, wages, rent and monthly outgoings for 30 UK cities, along with an interactive map, visit:

Speaking about the findings, Jon Ostler, CEO at, said: “If you’re considering moving to a new city, it is important to have an idea of the cost of living there. It may seem counterintuitive, but this analysis shows that a lower wage offered in a different city doesn’t automatically mean you have less money to spend, and could actually see you keep more.

“If you want to keep a closer eye on what you’re spending, budgeting apps are useful tools to track your outgoings. This will ensure you don’t overreach financially but can also help you grow your savings or spot ways that you can easily save money.”

Top five cities for disposable income

1. Derby

2. Reading

3. Southampton

4. Edinburgh

5. Aberdeen

Bottom five cities for disposable income

1. Brighton

2. Norwich

3. Plymouth

4. Manchester

5. York


The average wage in each city was taken from think tank Centre for Cities, and recalculated for the after-tax total.
Living cost figures were found on cost-of-living site Numbeo on 10 August 2018.

The stats used were:

A single person’s monthly costs without rent
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in city centre
Apartment (3 bedrooms) outside of centre
For rent, the total rents listed above were added, then divided by six, to get an approximate figure for the rent a single person could expect to pay.

The disposable income figure was then found by subtracting this, and a single person’s monthly costs without rent, from the average monthly income after tax.


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