The first study of its kind to measure the attractiveness of a region shows Waikato punching above its weight for social measures.
But it had room to improve for how it stacked up in terms of productivity and earnings.
The study, commissioned by business think tank Agenda Waikato and undertaken by the University of Waikato, ranked the Waikato sub-region using 87 different indicators from one to five with five being the most favourable.
It defined the sub-region by the communities and sectors within a 45 minute drive of Hamilton city and ranked it according to four capital classifications used by Treasury and the OECD's wellbeing criteria.
It ranked Waikato's overall attractiveness as slightly better in comparison to New Zealand.
The study ranked the sub-region in terms of its human and financial physical capital with an average score of three. However, it ranked New Zealand nationally as being more attractive than Waikato in terms of social capital.
Agenda Waikato chairman Graham Dwyer said the report gave their organisation an international benchmark to be referred to when individuals or groups wanted to know where Waikato ranked.
"I think it will be used by central and local government and places like Treasury when they are asked questions about where different areas rank."
It could also be used by Agenda Waikato as a baseline as it looked to improve rankings.
"It's kind of a baseline to go, 'this is where we sit at the moment, what things do we want to influence?'
The research should lead to better policy making and decisions by business, local government and central government. Knowing what areas the sub-region scores highest on is important to learn, leverage and build on, he said.
"And seeing where we are below New Zealand is important so that we can identify our weaknesses and address that."
Dwyer said they would use the rankings to determine what was important to their lives and businesses and what they could do to influence them.
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Regional attractiveness study of Waikato sub region the first of its kind