UK falling behind European neighbours in equality rankings

– Citizens of Helsinki enjoythe most equal society in Europe.
– Bristol beats other major UK cities to be named the most accepting.

Recent analysis by online home rental company Spotahome has revealed London is the second least equal city in Europe to live, with Manchester also in the bottom ten.

The UK itself ranks as the 13th best country for equality in Europe.

Spotahome has standardised the latest equality data available for key categories such as the gender pay gap, wheelchair access, income inequality, immigrant acceptance, LGBTI friendliness, quality of life and political issues, to rank each city out of ten for overall equality*.

The Nordic countries are accepted as some of the happiest places in the world to live, so it’s no surprise to see cities in Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Norway and Denmark all ranking in the top ten most equal list.

London’s position is surprising. It occupies the second lowest spot due to its poor scores on gender pay equality (2.85) – a widely discussed issue in recent months, with men being paid on average 15 percent more at some of the UK’s largest companies – as well as the lack of C-suite women in Fortune 500 companies (0.0). London also ranks badly for women in politics (1.25) and overall quality of life (2.59).

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Other UK cities perform well, with Bristol, Leeds and Edinburgh all in the top ten, scoring highly for LGBTI friendliness, immigrant acceptance and civil liberties. So, it may be time to abandon the bright lights of the Capital and see what else the UK has to offer.


# Highest level of equality Score Lowest level of equality Score
1 Helsinki, Finland 7.97 Athens, Greece 4.51
2 Stockholm, Sweden 7.82 London, UK 4.84
3 Rotterdam, Netherlands 7.30 Prague, Czech Republic 4.92
4 Bristol, UK 7.29 Rome, Italy 5.27
5 Zurich, Switzerland 7.23 Milan, Italy 5.47
6 Reykjavik, Iceland 7.23 Lisbon, Portugal 5.47
7 Oslo, Norway 7.20 Warsaw, Poland 5.51
8 Copenhagen, Denmark 7.07 Manchester, UK 5.90
9 Leeds, UK 6.96 Barcelona, Spain 5.95
10 Edinburgh, UK 6.86 Hamburg, Germany 6.10

Other surprising bottom ten entries include: the urban metropolis Barcelona, let down by gender pay differences and quality of life; the Italian tourist hotspots of Rome and Milan, which fall short when it comes to LGBTI acceptance and women in politics; and the historical capital of Bohemia, Prague with the lowest immigrant acceptance ranking overall.

Melissa Lyras, Brand and Communications Manager at Spotahome commented on the findings:

“As many of our customers are looking to move within Europe, to help them make the tough relocation decision we have analysed data from major European cities about the issues which matter most to them.

While it’s heartening to see strides being taken in some cities to improve equality, it’s evident there is still work to do. Gender inequality has hindered scores for many of Europe’s largest cities such as London, Barcelona, Rome and Lisbon and should be a key focus of improvement across the board”.

To see the full data for each city and country please visit Spotahome’s dedicated webpage here.

Gabrielle Roberts

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