Swansea among Wales’ most vibrant hotspots

Swansea has been recognised as one of Wales’ top ten most vibrant local economies on Grant Thornton’s Vibrant Economy Index which measures the vibrancy of the 22 Welsh local authority areas.

The findings, based on six broad social and economic objectives, known as ‘baskets’ for sustainable, inclusive growth1, paint a picture of the economic landscape across Wales highlighting a range of factors including prosperity, health and community.

Wales’ most vibrant places, as depicted within the report, the Grant Thornton Vibrant Economy Index, demonstrate a good balance between economic growth, social equality, sustainability and healthy, happy people.

Vibrancy is measured using key indicators for each of the six baskets and each place is awarded an overall ‘vibrancy’ score, with 100 being the national average.
Swansea scored above the national average with 100.36 and placed eighth among some of Wales’ most vibrant local economies. Swansea previously placed fifth in 2013, 9th in 2014 and 2015, increasing to seventh in 2016, and slipping to eighth in 2017.

Coming second in the dynamism and opportunity index, Swansea ranked well above average with a score of 110.29 highlighting the city’s entrepreneurial and innovative potential.
The index found Monmouthshire has the most vibrant local economy in Wales with a score of 104.93, followed by The Vale of Glamorgan (104.67), Flintshire (103.22) and Bridgend (102.11).
Monmouthshire has held the top spot consistently since 2013 apart from in 2016 when it dipped to number two and the Vale of Glamorgan replaced it as Wales’ most vibrant economy.

The study also found that:

Cardiff is a prosperous capital city but inclusion and equality are below average:

According to the index, Cardiff is Wales’ second most prosperous area of growth with a Prosperity score of 109.90.
Cardiff also takes the top spot in the dynamism and opportunity index with a score of 112.01
While much of Cardiff’s vibrancy is driven by economic prosperity, it has lower inclusion and equality and health, wellbeing and happiness scores ranking 21st and 18threspectively out of the 22 local authorities.

Rural areas are happier and have a strong sense of community belonging:

77% of Wales’ most rural local authorities scored above the national average for community, trust and belonging (Pembrokeshire 1st, Powys 3rd, Monmouthshire 4th, Gwynedd 5th, Anglesey 6th, Conwy 7th, Ceredigion 12th).

Similarly, seven of Wales’ top ten local authorities for health, wellbeing and happiness are some of the country’s most rural areas (Anglesey 1st, Gwynedd 2nd, Powys 3rd, Monmouthshire 5th, Conwy 6th, Ceredigion 7th, Denbighshire 8th).

Alistair Wardell, Practice Leader in Wales Office of Grant Thornton UK LLP, said:

“Our data shows that many places across Wales are already making great strides towards realising more inclusive growth. Five years ago, Bridgend’s overall performance looked very different and the city ranked in the bottom half of our index. We’ve seen that Bridgend has become more prosperous, more dynamic and more resilient and as a result now represents one of Wales’ most vibrant local economies.

“This impressive result demonstrates that good growth is inclusive growth. Looking beyond just economic prosperity and focusing on measuring the wellbeing of society as a whole can produce real change and start to positively impact local people. We hope that our Index, and the improvement seen so far, will help businesses, public sector leaders, the third sector and communities identify ways they can collaborate to create a truly vibrant economy that works for everyone.”

For more information and to read the report, visit https://www.grantthornton.co.uk/en/insights/the-geography-of-vibrancy-wales/