The most progressive UK cities to live and work in

Cyclists and pedestrians pass the Hertford Bridge, typically known as the 'Bridge of Sighs,' in Oxford, England. Photo: David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Oxford is the most progressive city in the UK, according to a new ranking.

Analysis by fintech company Bankrate has determined the best places to live and work in the UK in 2019, based on data pertaining to each city’s “wokeness.”

This data includes Google search trends, gender pay gaps, recycling rates, voter turnout, vegan and vegetarian availability, ultra-low emission vehicles, and council diversity.

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Oxford topped the list, despite not ranking highest in any individual category.

The top 10 most progressive UK cities. Source: Bankrate

Brighton & Hove took second place, driven by its wide range of vegan and vegetarian eateries, as well as search trends. This is unsurprising, given that Brighton is in competition with Glasgow for the title of the UK’s most vegan-friendly city.

Meat production and consumption have a far higher carbon footprint than a plant-based lifestyle, making Brighton significantly “woker” than many other UK cities, the report explained.

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The data shows a clear correlation between progressiveness and students, with eight of the top 10 cities having a strong student presence. Oxford, Brighton, London, Cambridge, Bristol, Leeds, Cardiff, and Exeter are all home to major UK universities.

Peterborough was noted for its environmental awareness, with the highest number of registrations of ultra-low emission vehicles, the study found. These vehicles emit less carbon dioxide than electric or hybrid cars. The city narrowly missed out on the top 10, emerging in 13th place overall.

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St Albans, despite being ranked 18th overall, was found to have the highest recycling rate in UK. Considering the city’s district council offers citizens up to five recycling boxes free of charge, this figure suggests its sustainability efforts are working.

Meanwhile, Swansea, which ranked 26th overall, has the narrowest gender pay gap in the UK. This could be because the city’s average hourly rate has improved over the past year, leading to a slight improvement in the median pay gap, the report’s author speculates.

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Winchester ranks highest in terms of voter turnout, showing its community is politically engaged and active. When it comes to fair and equal representation of women and minority groups, Wolverhampton takes the lead, with the most diverse city council.