Grant Thornton’s annual Vibrancy Economy Index revealed that the most vibrant cities are Cambridge, Camden, Westminster, Wokingham and Richmond upon Thames.
These are the cities that demonstrate a good balance between economic growth, social equality, sustainability and healthy and happy people.
While the most-vibrant list is still dominated by southern cities, eight of the top 10 most improved places over the last five years are in the north or Midlands.
The most improved cities in 2017 were Sheffield, North Warwickshire, Ashford, Eastbourne and Cheshire West and Chester. Sheffield topped the list after climbing 95 places in four years - from 233rd in 2013 to 138th in 2017
Karl Eddy, partner of enterprise, investments and innovation at Grant Thornton, said, “Our data shows that some places across England are already making great strides towards realising more inclusive growth, such as Sheffield. Five years ago, Sheffield’s overall performance looked very different and the city ranked towards the bottom of our Index. The city has become more resilient and is now the biggest climber in the index overall since 2013.”
The mid-tier firm also said that, despite being a vibrant capital city, London has lower happiness and health scores. Of the 32 boroughs, 20 score less than the national average for health, happiness and wellbeing, with 11 of these scoring in the lowest 20% nationally.
The report found that half of London boroughs are in the bottom 40% nationally for inclusion and equality, which assesses the gap between the richest and poorest. Ten of these are in the bottom 20%, with Hackney and Newham ranking the lowest in the capital, while only one borough - Richmond upon Thames – ranks in the top 20% nationally.
The index measures performance across prosperity; dynamism and opportunity; inclusion and equality, health, wellbeing and happiness; resilience and sustainability and community, trust and belonging.