There has always been competition between Manchester and Birmingham for the title of second city. And while the West Midlands has the upper-hand when it comes to population and size, we think there are a few other factors that should be considered.
But before we anger any Brummies out there, it’s worth pointing out that there are a few other important areas where they are outperforming us – namely when it comes to sustainability and the environment.
For example, Manchester came a dismal 30th out of 36th in a recent study on European cities and their progress towards creating clean, green transport systems for the future. Birmingham came 17th.
Another recent study also placed Manchester as the least safest city in the country, with Birmingham coming in at the fourth least safe.
However, here are some of the areas where we think Manchester has the edge.
1. Nobel Prize-winners
Compared to Birmingham’s 11, Manchester has 25 Nobel Prize-winners – including Ernest Rutherford’s 1908 prize for pioneering work in nuclear physics, and Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov’s 2010 accolade for their research into graphene. Credit: University of Manchester
Manchester’s Warehouse Project – an annual season of weekend raves with some of the biggest names in electronic music – was recently ranked among the best in the UK, outperforming the legendary Berghain in Berlin and London’s Printworks. Credit: Stefan Jajecznyk
3. Pride Festivals
Manchester’s Canal Street is world famous as a LGBTQ community hub and its Pride festival is widely considered to be one of the best. The Pride festival has been running annually since 1985, 12 years longer than Birmingham’s. Photo: Manchester Pride
4. International sport
Manchester and Birmingham have both hosted international sports tournaments, such as the Commonwealth Games, which were hosted in 2002 and 2022 respectively. Birmingham has Edgbaston Cricket Ground and the Alexander Stadium, but Manchester has Old Trafford, the Aquatics Centre, the National Cycling Centre and the National Squash Centre. Manchester has also hosted the UEFA Champions League Final twice and Birmingham has not. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)