A study of postcodes, commissioned by the Royal Mail, revealed Dalton as ranking third in the country with Barrow coming in 10th.
Matthew Hillman, 22, has lived in Dalton’s Prince Street since the day he was born, with the exception of his university years spent in Liverpool.
He said: “I think, from going to university, meeting people from all over the country and chatting to them about where they’re from and what they could do when they were younger, I realised how many opportunities you have growing up somewhere like this.
“I had a friend from south London who was amazed our parents let us go out on our own and things like that. It’s still a really friendly place.”
The desirability ratings were calculated based on a range of factors including good schools, access to green spaces and average commuting times.
Carried out by the Centre for Economic and Business Research, the study also took into account employment prospects and affordable housing.
Of the findings, Mr Hillman added: “Looking at the technical nitty gritty, it is amazing what you can get for your money on the housing market here compared to other places in the country. It’s very good value for money.
“I also went to three fantastic schools all in the same town and, considering it’s a small place I felt really lucky to have the education I had.
“But for me, the thing that makes Dalton so special is how friendly all the people are and the fact I think we do still have a really good community.
“Lots of people know each other and I think the people here really care about the place.”
It is not only born-and-bred Cumbrians who take its towns to their hearts.
Barrow businessman Phil Collier, a Liverpudlian by birth, moved to south Cumbria in 2000 having been visiting the area for work since 1984.
And, despite loving his native city and its people, he says he would never leave the area he has since made his home.
Mr Collier, whose wife is from Barrow, said: “Moving was, for me, an absolute no-brainer.
“To be able to look out of one window and see the sea, then another and see views of the fells away in the distance, who on Earth wouldn’t want to come here?
“It’s nice to see there are people out there who do realise the wonderful qualities the place has to offer.
“It’s an area that has always had a lot of important potential, and we’re starting to realise that now.”
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