The Centre for Cities

Fig 1. The Newcastle upon Tyne Primary Urban Area


I admit it in some respects I’m a data geek, but had not come across the centre or cities before. This is full of data and has maps such as Fig. 1 and quick facilities to compare many parameters such as housing affordability ratio as in Fig.2, quickly selecting the best and the worst for example, with Burnley the most affordable for housing and Oxford the least.

Fig. 2 Time series of most (Burnley) and Least (Oxford) affordable town/city in the UK.


The Centre’s research focuses on the UK’s 63 largest cities and towns, defined as primary urban areas (PUAs) . This includes, if appropriate, areas outside the core city, which can make a big differences to cities such as Manchester and Newcastle upon Tyne. You can  use menus to find the latest economic data for each of these towns and cities. You can also explore all the data, create maps, bar charts, scatter plots and tables using the interactive city by city data tool.

In Fig 3 The Gross Value Added (GVA) for the top 15 UK cities are shown (London is excluded from the plot as its GVA of £ 446.69B dwarfs the others and makes the bar chart less readable). Manchester comes out as the 2nd city in the UK terms of GVA (but 3rd after Birmingham in terms of population).

Fig. 3 Gross Value Added of 15 largest UK cities excluding London


There are some interesting admissions and exclusions. Chatham is included for example but not Derry, which is indicative perhaps as to how the SE of England dominates the UK in terms of both population and economic activity. The data seems to be more complete also for England and Wales than Scotland and Northern Ireland.