When people think of Britain, they often think of …
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The United Kingdom (UK) is a Constitutional Monarchy It is made up of 4 semi-autonomous countries: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The latter 3 have devolved authorities responsible for some regulation and policy making. The UK covers an area of 242,500 square kilometres and has a population of about 60 million, similar to that of France and Italy.
The current name of the country, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, was adopted in 1927 The Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921 formalised a partition of Ireland; 6 northern Irish counties remained part of the United Kingdom as Northern Ireland The legislative union of Great Britain and Ireland was implemented in 1801, with the adoption of the name the United Kingdom of Great Britain and IrelandScotland was an independent nation until the Act of Union in 1707 when England and Scotland joined to form Great BritainEngland has existed as a unified entity since the 10th century.The union between England and Wales, begun in 1284 but was not formalised until 1536.
Population (mid-2005) In mid-2005 the UK was home to 60.2 million people, of which 50.4 million lived in England. The average age was 38.8 years, an increase on 1971 when it was 34.1 years. Approximately one in 5 people were under 16 and one in 6 people were 65 or over. The UK population is growing (0.275%). Until the mid-1990s this growth was mainly due to the number of births exceeding deaths. While natural change has continued, since the late 1990s net international migration into the UK from abroad has been an increasingly important factor
Where do people live? Languages:EnglishWelsh (about 760,000)Gaelic (about 60,000 in Scotland)
Total population 60.2 million 243 people/km² Ranked 48th in the world according to the United Nations World Populations Prospects Report 8 in 10 people live in an urban area 26% live in London and South East 1 in 9 moved in year to April 2001 1 in 12 were born overseas 1 in 8 were EU residents living in UKLiteracy rate 99%65% of children live with both birth parents
Main Cities Population: 60,776,238 (July 2007 est.) London – 7.2 millionBirmingham – 992,000Leeds – 720,000Glasgow – 560,000Sheffield – 512,000Bradford – 467,000Edinburgh – 450,000Liverpool – 440,000Manchester 420,000Bristol – 380,000 Cardiff – 310,000Nottingham – 285,000Belfast – 280,000Newcastle – 259,000Hull – 240,000Plymouth 240,000Aberdeen – 215,000Portsmouth – 186,000York – 182,000
Religion Christianity is the main religion in Britain There were 41 million Christians in 2001, making up almost three quarters of the population (72%). This includes Church of England, Church of Scotland, Church in Wales, Catholic, Protestant and all other Christian denominations. People with no religion form the second largest group, comprising 15% of the population. 2005 Eurobarometer report showed that 62% did not believe in a god. This includes almost 1.6 million Muslims and 600,000 HindusThese “Minority” religious groups were concentrated in London
Local Legends Stole from the rich … Age of chivalry The spider and the king Saint George Saint Patrick Saint Andrew Saint David
Health In the 2001 Census, 40 million (out of the 60 million living in the UK) rated their general health in the last year as 'good', a further 13 million rated it as 'fairly good' Life expectancy for both men and women has continued to rise. In 2002, life expectancy at birth was 81 years for females and 76 years for males. This contrasts with 49 and 45 years respectively in 1901. The main causes of death are:Circulatory Disease (eg heart disease / stroke)CancersRespiratory Diseases (Pneumonia)Injury and poisoningInfectious Diseases
Health Drinking among girls continues to rise Average of 1.66 children born/woman Infant Mortality rate of 5.01 deaths per 1,000 live births 1 in 4 adults smoke 1 in 6 adults have a neurotic disorder HIV prevalence <0.2% (2007) HIV & chlamydia diagnoses increasing HIV/AIDS deaths – less than 500 per year
Climate temperate; moderated by prevailing southwest winds over the North Atlantic Current.“More than half of the days are overcast”
Geography Mostly rugged hills and low mountains – level to rolling plains in the east and southeast Lowest point – The Fens (-4m)Highest Point – Ben Nevis (1,343m)
Natural Resources Primary energy production accounts for 10% of GDP;In 2005 the sources were: Natural Gas: 40% Oil: 33% Coal: 17% Nuclear: 8% Renewable: 2% Resources include: Coal, Petroleum, Natural gas, Iron ore, Lead, Zinc, Gold, Tin, Limestone, Salt, Clay, Chalk, Gypsum, Potash, Silica sand, Slate, arable land.
Other Resources Services (banking, insurance, and business services) Industry
Land Use Over 70% of the total UK land area is under agricultural use, although less than 1% is used for permanent crops. Agriculture is intensive, highly mechanized, and efficient, producing about 60% of food needs with less than 2% of the labor force Products include: cereals, oilseed, potatoes, vegetables; cattle, sheep, poultry; fish Non- agricultural land uses include: machine tools, electric power equipment, automation equipment, railroad equipment, shipbuilding, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, electronics and communications equipment, metals, chemicals, coal, petroleum, paper and paper products, food processing, textiles, clothing, other consumer goods
Natural Hazards Winter windstormsFloods
Money The UK has been a member of the EU since 1973, but does not participate in the European single currency, the Euro.
Economy Exchange rate 1 UK Pound (GBP) on 20 July 2007US$2.05 euro 1.49 Exchange rate 1 UK Pound (GBP) on 16 February 2009US$1.43 euro 1.12
EmploymentLabour force of 31.1 million Occupations: agriculture: 1.4% industry: 18.2% services: 80.4% (2006 est.)
Earnings Average salary/wage £24,908 pa (April 2008)Ranges from £946 per week for top 10% to under £262 per week for the lowest paid Source: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE)Minimum Wage £5.73 per hour For full time, legally resident, adult employeesPopln below poverty line: 17% 2007 average earnings in Hull = £10,416 paSource: Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR)
Politics The UK is a long-established parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarch as Head of State. The democracy is sustained by free elections, freedom of speech and open and equal treatment before the law. The Parliament is made up of : the Sovereign (Queen Elizabeth II), the House of Lords (the upper house) and the House of Commons (the lower house). The House of Lords consists of approximately: 500 life peers, 92 hereditary peers and 26 clergy.Elections are held as vacancies in the hereditary peerage arise.
Politics Today the House of Commons is the dominant branch. The House of Commons is democratically elected body of 646 “Members of Parliament” or MPs. MPs are elected by the first-past-the-post system of election and hold office until Parliament is dissolved (a maximum of 5 years). Each MP is elected by and represents an electoral district known as a constituency. Elections were last held in May 2005. Sittings of the house are open to the public and debates are broadcast on the radio and television.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland