Three of the four most unequal towns and cities in the UK, judged by a variety of wealth and employment measures, are in the North West, according to the Centre for Cities.
Manchester was judged the least equal city in the country, followed by Bristol, Liverpool and Birkenhead.
The Cities Outlook 2008 report gauged cities according to take home pay, working age adults in employment and housing market performance, among other factors.
London also features in the least equal cities at number seven and is flanked by Leeds and Birmingham.
The most equal is Cambridge, followed by Crawley and Aldershot.
The Centre for Cities report states: "A crude North-South divide is apparent – but it's also an over-simplification. Many Northern cities have performed well over recent years.
"After a difficult period of restructuring and job loss in the 1980s, and a crippling recession during the early 1990s, cities such as Manchester, Newcastle and Liverpool are now adding significant numbers of new jobs."
The report continues: "In most cases, population growth follows economic growth and success. In some Northern cities, population figures are now increasing slightly – a clear signal of improving economic fortunes."
Warrington and Preston are each singled out for their strong annual employment growth of 2.2% between 1995 and 2005, only marginally ahead of Liverpool with 2% growth.
However, the report that rapid growth in northern cities will not last at this pace forever. Challenges soon arise such as transport congestion, tightening labour markets and rising house prices.
To see the full report visit the Resource Library.