Edinburgh and Glasgow at opposite ends of ‘vibrancy’ league table

Edinburgh. Picture: Johnston Press
Edinburgh. Picture: Johnston Press
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Edinburgh has been singled out as the most vibrant place in Scotland in a major new Scotland-wide social and economic study while Glasgow was ranked second last.

The capital came top of 32 areas assessed by business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK. Its new “vibrant economy index” measures areas based on six key social and economic objectives to create an overall score.

The findings form part of a wider “Vibrant Scotland” initiative, aimed at sparking debate and dialogue about how greater collaboration and innovation can unlock more sustainable long-term growth.

The vibrant economy index looks beyond GDP as a single measure of success, exploring areas such as inclusion and equality, prosperity and “community, trust and belonging”.

While Edinburgh was ranked number one for overall vibrancy, and for dynamism and opportunity, Aberdeen achieved top ranking for prosperity. The Orkney Islands were ranked number one for community, trust and belonging as well as “health, wellbeing and happiness”. Shetland was ranked top for inclusion and equality.

The data – generated by studying current official statistics and demographic analysis for each local authority area – also highlights some of the challenges facing Scotland.

Dundee (25th) and Glasgow (31st) both scored poorly in overall vibrancy but performed more strongly in the dynamism and opportunity category (fourth and tenth respectively), suggesting that while long-term socio-economic problems exist, the cities could have optimistic long-term prospects with good access to education, increasing employment opportunities and a rise in inward investment, the study noted.

Another trend highlighted in the vibrant economy index was the health, happiness and wider environmental divide between rural and urban areas, with island and remote communities performing more strongly in these areas.

Andrew Howie, Grant Thornton UK’s managing partner in Scotland, said: “Our index has involved extensive research into the raft of official data which currently exists, enabling us to get a much clearer picture of Scotland today.

“Edinburgh’s flourishing cultural and business environment, and internationally recognised quality of life, have helped to place it firmly in the top spot for overall vibrancy – but it too faces its own challenges, including inclusion and equality, where it was ranked 22nd.”

The “Vibrancy” top ten:


1 - Edinburgh

2 - Aberdeen

3 - Perth & Kinross

4 - Aberdeenshire

5 - East Dunbartonshire

6 - Highland

7 - Midlothian

8 - East Lothian

9 - Scottish Borders

10 - South Lanarkshire