Business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP compared local authority areas against six socio-economic objectives, going beyond GDP to provide a broader view of strengths and areas of opportunity.
Focusing on the North West, Cheshire East came top, followed by Trafford in Greater Manchester with Cheshire West and Chester ranked third followed by Warrington and South Lakeland in fifth.
Cheshire West ranks in the top 20 per cent nationally for health, wellbeing and happiness and is the fifth most improved area over the past five years.
Cheshire East is the highest performer in the North West, leading the way on a series of economic metrics for prosperity, dynamism and opportunity. It is also well placed nationally on resilience and sustainability, and inclusion and equality, ranking in the top 20 per cent and top 40 per cent respectively.
For the fifth year in a row Cambridge topped the poll as England’s most vibrant place to live.
At the other end of the spectrum, Blackpool produced the lowest set of figures and was positioned in 324th place.
The study reveals a sharply contrasting picture of life within the North West’s two largest cities, as both Manchester and Liverpool scored highly for their economic dynamism, but ranked poorly for health and happiness.
Mike Thomas, audit director at Grant Thornton in the North West, said: “We’ve created the Index to spark a debate on what type of economy we want in the UK. Across Cheshire there has been a resurgence based on a growing excellence in many key economic areas such as automotive, bio-technology, chemical, financial services, food and drink, and tourism.
“But it’s also making strides in other ways. In Cheshire West, there’s been a lot delivered in terms of place-making and a new restaurant quarter in Chester.
“The figures evidence the challenges and how high the bar is on regeneration in big cities. Whilst Manchester and Liverpool achieve high ranks for prosperity and dynamism, there are issues around high levels of homelessness and child poverty, as well as a high proportion of the working age population claiming benefits.
“The reality is that the vibrancy of any local place is about so much more than GDP. From soup kitchens to social enterprises, riverside clean-ups to responsible lending, green recycling schemes to growth generation through Local Enterprise Partnerships – real vibrancy is the result of collaboration between people and public, private and third sector organisations.”