We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Core Cities’ strong growth in the 2010s: Were they ‘leaving behind’ the rest of their regions?

Townsend, Alan and Champion, Tony (2020) 'Core Cities’ strong growth in the 2010s: Were they ‘leaving behind’ the rest of their regions?', Local Economy: The Journal of the Local Economy Policy Unit, 35 (6).


Second-order cities are generally seen as disadvantaged places in the literature on globalisation, but in recent years they have staged a revival in several countries. This article uses two data sources to examine the employment change recorded by Britain’s Core Cities between 2012 and 2017, breaking it down by type of worker, occupation and industry. It aims, firstly, to identify which elements of their growth are distinctive compared to the country as a whole and, secondly, to see how far their growth has been emulated by the areas around them that contain the majority of Britain’s ‘left-behind’ places. The article demonstrates the great strides made by the nine provincial cities combined, substantially exceeding the national rate of increase for male, female, full-time, part-time, employee and self-employed work, notably in the three highest status occupational groups and in all industrial sectors apart from manufacturing and transport, especially business services. It is also found that their growth outstripped that of their local, regional and EU comparators, underlining the importance of direct policy intervention for ‘left-behind’ places rather than relying on ‘trickle-down’ processes, especially given uncertainties about the sustainability of Core City growth in the wake of COVID-19 and Brexit.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement: article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:22 September 2021
Date of first online publication:08 December 2020
Date first made open access:22 September 2021

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar