Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England, with a population of 545,500 as of 2017. North West England, one of nine official regions of England, consists of the five counties of Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside. The North West had a population of 7,052,000 in 2011. It is the third-most populated region in the United Kingdom after the South East and Greater London.  It lies within the United Kingdom’s third-most populous metropolitan area, with a population of 3.2 million.

In 2014, the Globalisation and World Cities Research Network ranked Manchester as a beta world city, the highest-ranked British city apart from London. Manchester is the third-most visited city in the UK, after London and Edinburgh. It is notable for its architecture, culture, musical exports, media links, scientific and engineering output, social impact, sports clubs and transport connections. Manchester Liverpool Road railway station was the world’s first inter-city passenger railway station; scientists first split the atom, developed the stored-program computer and produced graphene in the city. Manchester hosted the 2002 Commonwealth Games.