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Which is better, Glasgow or Edinburgh

Which is better, Glasgow or Edinburgh? 

Choosing between Edinburgh or Glasgow is like choosing between haggis and deep-fried Mars bars—impossible! The answer really depends on your preferences and priorities.

If you prefer to live in a city with lower crime rates, higher life expectancy rates, and a more diverse population, Edinburgh might be the one for you. But, if you’re looking for lower cost of living, cheaper real estate, and a thriving nightlife, Glasgow could be the winner.

Let’s explore how we arrived at this answer by taking a closer look at the important factors listed below. 

Cost of Living in Glasgow vs. Edinburgh

Cost of Living in Glasgow vs. Edinburgh
Image by: First Things First

The cost of living in Edinburgh is 13% higher than in Glasgow. In Edinburgh, the average after-tax salary is sufficient to cover living expenses for about 1.5 months, whereas in Glasgow, it can cover approximately 1.9 months.

When you have to choose between a night out and a month’s supply of instant noodles, then it’s time to consider whether the cost of living in your area is suitable for you. 

To gain a better understanding of the living costs in Glasgow and Edinburgh, check out the table below, which includes data gathered from

Average Rent Per Month
1 Bedroom Apartment£881£1059
3 Bedroom Apartment£1567£2308
Utility Bills
One Person£134£130
Local Transportation
One Way Ticket£3£2.19
Monthly Pass£70.1£72.3
Taxi (8 km)£14.4£17.2
Gasoline (1 L)£2.06£1.93
1 Month£1000£1206
Monthly Food Expenses
Per Person£404£439

In a nutshell, if you’re keen on managing your expenses, Glasgow shines as the preferred city for your living needs. However, if your main goal is to experience a higher standard of living, with less consideration for living costs, Edinburgh comes out on top.

Real Estate Prices in Glasgow vs. Edinburgh

Real Estate Prices in Glasgow vs. Edinburgh
Image by: Housing

Glasgow offers better value for money, with properties costing approximately £130,000 less on average compared to Edinburgh.

However, for those seeking a property investment with higher growth potential, Edinburgh is the preferable choice, with a market growth rate of 6% over the past year compared to Glasgow’s 5%.

If you are on a never-ending quest to find the perfect house that doesn’t come with a haunted attic, then you need to consider a few factors. 

For instance, Glasgow is the more budget-friendly option as property prices in Edinburgh are roughly 30% higher, making it the clear winner for those on a tight budget. 

For buyers who are looking for a property investment with greater growth potential, Edinburgh is the preferred option.

Below is a table that presents a comparison of the average property prices in Glasgow and Edinburgh, categorised by the number of bedrooms.

Property PricesGlasgowEdinburgh
1 Bedroom Property£104,993£217,560
2 Bedroom Property£169,704£295,854
3 Bedroom Property£248,558£402,472
4 Bedroom Property£372,433£532,564
5 Bedroom Property£609,441£849,336

Demographics and Diversity in Glasgow vs. Edinburgh

Demographics and Diversity in Glasgow vs. Edinburgh

Among all the Scottish cities, Edinburgh has the highest proportion of people from non-Scottish white ethnic groups, accounting for 21% of its population. 

In contrast, Glasgow has a smaller percentage, with only around 4% of its population identifying as ‘White: Other British,’ while Edinburgh has a higher percentage of 12% for the same category.

Do note that in terms of both size and population, Glasgow surpasses Edinburgh as the largest city in Scotland, boasting a population of 635,100 residents. Here are some demographics in both cities:

Size175 km²264 km²
Population Density3,400 per sq. km1,830 per sq. km
Median Age44.922

Glasgow has a higher population density, suggesting a higher concentration of people within a given area, while Edinburgh has a slightly lower population density, indicating a relatively more spread-out population.

These figures also suggest that Glasgow has a relatively older population compared to Edinburgh, where the population skews towards a younger demographic.

Additionally, we created a table about both cities’ demographic diversity based on data from World Population Review:

Racial CompositionGlasgowEdinburgh

Glasgow has a higher percentage of non-White residents, while Edinburgh has a higher percentage of White residents. 

Additionally, Glasgow has a higher percentage of individuals identifying as Muslim, while Edinburgh has a higher percentage of individuals identifying as Christian.

Job Opportunities in Glasgow vs. Edinburgh

Job Opportunities in Glasgow vs. Edinburgh
Image by: Careerinfos

If you are inclined towards finance, business, and the thriving tech startup scene, Glasgow presents itself as the ideal city to explore job prospects.

On the other hand, Edinburgh offers excellent opportunities for those seeking employment in the hospitality and tourism sectors. It is also well-suited for individuals interested in pursuing careers in the arts and history-related fields.

Both cities have an almost equal average salary: Edinburgh at £2,942.35 and Glasgow at £2,985.51. However, it is important to note that Edinburgh has a lower unemployment rate at 7.2% compared to Glasgow’s 12%. 

So, even though Glasgow might offer a slightly higher salary average, it might be more difficult to get a job there.

Crime in Glasgow vs. Edinburgh

Crime in Glasgow vs. Edinburgh
Image by: Police Professional

When it comes to crime rates, Glasgow holds the unfortunate distinction of having the highest rate in Scotland. In comparison, Edinburgh experiences a significantly lower crime rate than Glasgow. 

If you find yourself analysing your neighbour’s suspicious late-night activities (aka taking out the trash), then you might need to move to a place with a lower crime rate.

Specifically, based on the number of crimes reported per 10,000 inhabitants, Glasgow records 768 instances, whereas Edinburgh reports 607 instances, indicating a noticeable difference in crime levels between the two cities.

Here are a few examples of people who may prefer to reside in a city with a lower crime rate:

  1. Families: Parents often prioritise the safety and well-being of their children, making a low-crime environment a crucial factor when choosing a place to live.
  1. Retirees: Older adults may seek a peaceful and secure setting for their retirement years, making a city with a lower crime rate an attractive option.
  1. Professionals: Individuals who value a safe and secure environment may prefer to live in a city with a lower crime rate to minimise potential risks and ensure peace of mind.
  1. Students: Students, especially those studying abroad or living independently for the first time, may opt for cities with lower crime rates to prioritise their personal safety.
  1. Tourists and visitors: People visiting or exploring a city for a short period, such as tourists or business travellers, may prefer cities with lower crime rates to enhance their overall experience and minimise any potential safety concerns.

Lifestyle in Glasgow vs. Edinburgh

Lifestyle in Glasgow vs. Edinburgh
Image by: The Independent

If you’re drawn to captivating history, stunning architecture, and an array of exceptional dining options, Edinburgh might be the perfect city for you. 

On the other hand, if you’re more inclined towards vibrant live music scenes, interesting museums, and exciting nightlife, Glasgow could be your ideal match.

Below are other factors to consider when choosing which city to live in.

Weather in Glasgow vs. Edinburgh

Weather in Glasgow vs. Edinburgh
Image by: Edinburgh News

Glasgow edges out Edinburgh when it comes to warmth, boasting a slightly higher annual average temperature. However, this warmth comes hand in hand with a significant amount of rainfall. 

Edinburgh experiences around 124 days of rain per year, whereas Glasgow encounters approximately 170 rainy days, earning its reputation as the wettest city in the UK.

Activities in Glasgow vs. Edinburgh

Glasgow and Edinburgh offer distinct experiences and a wide range of things to do. 

Glasgow is renowned for its lively music scene, with numerous venues offering live performances across various genres. The city’s nightlife is vibrant, with a diverse selection of bars, clubs, and pubs to explore.

It’s also home to world-class museums and galleries, showcasing art, history, and culture. The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Riverside Museum, and Gallery of Modern Art are among the city’s notable attractions.

The city offers excellent shopping opportunities, from high-end boutiques to bustling markets. The culinary scene in Glasgow is diverse, with a wide range of restaurants serving both traditional and international cuisines.

On the other hand, Edinburgh is renowned for its stunning historic landmarks, including the iconic Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Exploring the city’s rich history and architecture is a must.

It’s also famous for its festivals, particularly the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world. 

The Royal Mile, a bustling street connecting Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, is lined with shops, restaurants, and historical attractions. 

The Old Town’s narrow winding streets and charming atmosphere offer a glimpse into the city’s mediaeval past.

Healthcare in Glasgow vs. Edinburgh

While both cities have relatively high healthcare indexes (Edinburgh: 78.80 and Glasgow: 79.42), there are notable differences in life expectancy. 

Glasgow has one of the lowest average life expectancies in Scotland, with men expected to live around 73 years and women around 78.5 years. This suggests that there may be factors in Glasgow that contribute to lower life expectancy, which could include various health issues, lifestyle factors, or socioeconomic factors. 

In contrast, Edinburgh boasts higher life expectancies, surpassing both Glasgow’s figures and the national average. Men in Edinburgh are expected to live to approximately 75.9 years, while women have an average life expectancy of 80.9 years. 

Factors such as better healthcare, healthier lifestyles, or improved living conditions might be behind this.

Glasgow vs. Edinburgh: How They Stack Up

Glasgow and Edinburgh have their strengths and drawbacks that can influence your ultimate choice. The ideal city to live in largely depends on your personal living standards and lifestyle.

Based on the factors we’ve explored, here are our recommendations regarding which city may be more suitable.

FactorsWhich is Better?Why?
Cost of LivingGlasgowThe cost of living in Glasgow is lower
Real Estate GlasgowGlasgow properties offer better value for money
Demographics and DiversityEdinburghEdinburgh has a more diverse population
Job Opportunities Tied It depends on which industry you’re planning to join
CrimeEdinburghEdinburgh has a lower crime rate
LifestyleEdinburghWhile they’re tied in terms of activities, Edinburgh has a higher life expectancy rate and has lower incidences of rainfall.
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