A vibrant economy is one in which everyone benefits from economic growth and where the gap between the richest and poorest narrows and regional disparities reduce.
To measure this, the index explores a range of factors, from levels of deprivation and inequality to child poverty, housing affordability, employment rates and long-term unemployment, benefit claimants and homelessness.
The highest ranked places on this basket of measures are spread across Scotland. Shetland Islands, East Dunbartonshire and Aberdeen rank one to three (see map 1). Aberdeen’s strong performance is particularly noteworthy as generally, across the UK, more prosperous places perform poorly on inclusion and equality. More broadly, it is the Highlands and Islands and North East Scotland that perform strongly. There are also pockets of strong performance in East Central Scotland and West Central Scotland, including East Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire (ranking two and five respectively) and Perth & Kinross and Falkirk (ranking seven and 11 respectively).
Map 1 - How areas of Scotland perform against the Vibrant Economy Index inclusion and equality indicators
At the other end of the spectrum, a number of the cities and their wider urban fringes face significant challenges in relation to this basket. Half of the areas that rank in the bottom 20% nationally are in West Central Scotland. The challenges in these areas are significant and deep set, having taken hold over generations.