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24 September 2014
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Birmingham loses out to Manchester in second city face off


Birmingham has lost its "second city" status to Manchester according to results from a nationwide survey released on tonight's Inside Out programme.

 

In the poll carried out exclusively for BBC Inside Out, 48% of people in the UK believed Manchester to be the second most important city after the capital London.

 

Birmingham, which has historically been known as the second city, canvassed just 40% of the vote.

 

The results appear to confirm the view that Manchester's reputation has grown significantly over the last 50 years, catching up with its more southern rival.

 

This gradual transition was reflected in the findings.

 

Whilst Birmingham came out on top in the over-64 age group by 48% to 42%, in the 16-24 age groups Manchester topped the poll by 58% compared to Birmingham's 38%.

 

In regional breakdowns, those in the North West and West Midlands had a preference for their city as second city.

 

In the West Midlands 83% named Birmingham as second city and 12% named Manchester but in the North West, 79% of people preferred Manchester as the holder and 13% cited Birmingham.

 

The title of second city is unofficial but is held in high regard - business leaders admit that it is a useful title for marketing a city, helping to attract tourism, industry and investment.

 

However, there are no rules to determine what constitutes a second city, and the survey does not reveal how those polled arrived at their conclusions.

 

With its population of more than one million people, Birmingham is the second largest city in the country, more than twice that of Manchester (2005 population estimate: 441,000).

 

Mancunians will argue their city also includes a number of surrounding towns such as Salford which increase its total.

 

Apply the same logic to Birmingham though, and its population rises to two million.

 

So those who voted for Manchester must be looking elsewhere for inspiration.

 

Perhaps being home to Manchester United, one of the most famous football clubs in the world played its part.

 

Or perhaps it is the city's legendary music scene which has produced a stream of influential bands over the last two decades including Oasis, the Stone Roses, the Happy Mondays and Joy Division.

 

For architect Ian Simpson, who has helped shape the skyline of both cities, it's the atmosphere and attitude that's most important.

 

"What I think Manchester has at the moment, is that it just has a cool edge. I think most people know it's a bit cool to be here, to work here, and to be part of this," he says.

 

Inside Out goes out on BBC One West Midlands on Friday 9 February at 7.30pm.

 

Notes to Editors

 

The survey of 1,000 people was carried out by GfK NOP on behalf of BBC Inside Out.

 

The respondents were carefully selected as a representative cross-section of the UK population.

 

They were asked the question: "Which of the following cities, if any, do you consider to be England's second city, after the capital city London?" They could select between the answers: "Manchester", "Birmingham", "None of these" or "Don't know".

 

A further breakdown of the survey results is available to the media on request.

 

BG

 

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Category: West Midlands Regional TV
Date: 09.02.2007
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