Skilled workers key to best cities
The Centre for Cities think-tank said skill levels in 1901 are mirrored in the economic strength of areas today.
The study also found that investment in infrastructure and other areas which fuel economic growth had helped cities like Preston, Warrington and Swindon buck the trend.
Spending on roads, railways and homes had eased the movement of skilled workers and made the cities more likely to attract businesses, said the report.
"The research shows that skills and transport in particular can shape the economic health of a city. Ensuring the education system prepares children for the world of work when they leave school is vital for those children and for the future health of the UK economy.
"If the Government holds back on investing in these fundamental policies now, history shows that it will pay later."
- Is it time to move to a 'new town'
- And the congestion capital of the UK is...
- Work study warns of 'standstill'