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United Kingdom Facts
• Introduction
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Introduction United Kingdom
Background:
As the dominant industrial and maritime power of the 19th century, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland played a leading role in developing parliamentary democracy and in advancing literature and science. At its zenith, the British Empire stretched over one-fourth of the earth's surface. The first half of the 20th century saw the UK's strength seriously depleted in two World Wars and the Irish republic withdraw from the union. The second half witnessed the dismantling of the Empire and the UK rebuilding itself into a modern and prosperous European nation. As one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council, a founding member of NATO, and of the Commonwealth, the UK pursues a global approach to foreign policy; it currently is weighing the degree of its integration with continental Europe. A member of the EU, it chose to remain outside the Economic and Monetary Union for the time being. Constitutional reform is also a significant issue in the UK. The Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, and the Northern Ireland Assembly were established in 1999, but the latter is suspended due to wrangling over the peace process.
People United Kingdom
Population:
60,776,238 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 17.2% (male 5,349,053/female 5,095,837)
15-64 years: 67% (male 20,605,031/female 20,104,313)
65 years and over: 15.8% (male 4,123,464/female 5,498,540) (2007 est.)
Median age:
total: 39.6 years
male: 38.5 years
female: 40.7 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.275% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:
10.67 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:
10.09 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:
2.17 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.025 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 5.01 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.58 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.7 years
male: 76.23 years
female: 81.3 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.66 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.2% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
51,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 500 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
noun: Briton(s), British (collective plural)
adjective: British
Ethnic groups:
white (of which English 83.6%, Scottish 8.6%, Welsh 4.9%, Northern Irish 2.9%) 92.1%, black 2%, Indian 1.8%, Pakistani 1.3%, mixed 1.2%, other 1.6% (2001 census)
Religions:
Christian (Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 71.6%, Muslim 2.7%, Hindu 1%, other 1.6%, unspecified or none 23.1% (2001 census)
Languages:
English, Welsh (about 26% of the population of Wales), Scottish form of Gaelic (about 60,000 in Scotland)
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over has completed five or more years of schooling
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
Government United Kingdom
Country name:
conventional long form: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; note - Great Britain includes England, Scotland, and Wales
conventional short form: United Kingdom
abbreviation: UK
Government type:
constitutional monarchy
Capital:
name: London
geographic coordinates: 51 30 N, 0 10 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions:
England: 47 boroughs, 36 counties, 29 London boroughs, 12 cities and boroughs, 10 districts, 12 cities, 3 royal boroughs
boroughs: Barnsley, Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Bolton, Bournemouth, Bracknell Forest, Brighton and Hove, Bury, Calderdale, Darlington, Doncaster, Dudley, Gateshead, Halton, Hartlepool, Kirklees, Knowsley, Luton, Medway, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, North Tyneside, Oldham, Poole, Reading, Redcar and Cleveland, Rochdale, Rotherham, Sandwell, Sefton, Slough, Solihull, Southend-on-Sea, South Tyneside, St. Helens, Stockport, Stockton-on-Tees, Swindon, Tameside, Thurrock, Torbay, Trafford, Walsall, Warrington, Wigan, Wirral, Wolverhampton
counties (or unitary authorities): Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cornwall, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon, Dorset, Durham, East Sussex, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, North Yorkshire, Northamptonshire, Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Shropshire, Somerset, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Sussex, Wiltshire, Worcestershire
London boroughs: Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Newham, Redbridge, Richmond upon Thames, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth
cities and boroughs: Birmingham, Bradford, Coventry, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Salford, Sheffield, Sunderland, Wakefield, Westminster
districts: Bath and North East Somerset, East Riding of Yorkshire, North East Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire, North Somerset, Rutland, South Gloucestershire, Telford and Wrekin, West Berkshire, Wokingham
cities: City of Bristol, Derby, City of Kingston upon Hull, Leicester, City of London, Nottingham, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, York
royal boroughs: Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston upon Thames, Windsor and Maidenhead
Northern Ireland: 24 districts, 2 cities, 6 counties (historic)
districts: Antrim, Ards, Armagh, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Banbridge, Carrickfergus, Castlereagh, Coleraine, Cookstown, Craigavon, Down, Dungannon, Fermanagh, Larne, Limavady, Lisburn, Magherafelt, Moyle, Newry and Mourne, Newtownabbey, North Down, Omagh, Strabane
cities: Belfast, Londonderry (Derry)
counties (historic): County Antrim, County Armagh, County Down, County Fermanagh, County Londonderry, and County Tyrone are still referred to in common parlance, but do not constitute a level of administration
Scotland: 32 council areas: Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee City, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, City of Edinburgh, Eilean Siar (Western Isles), Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow City, Highland, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Moray, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Orkney Islands, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Shetland Islands, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, The Scottish Borders, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian
Wales: 11 county boroughs, 9 counties, 2 cities and counties
county boroughs: Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Conwy, Gwynedd, Merthyr Tydfil, Neath Port Talbot, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Torfaen, Wrexham
counties: Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Isle of Anglesey, Monmouthshire, Pembrokeshire, Powys, The Vale of Glamorgan
cities and counties: Cardiff, Swansea
Dependent areas:
Anguilla, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands
Independence:
England has existed as a unified entity since the 10th century; the union between England and Wales, begun in 1284 with the Statute of Rhuddlan, was not formalized until 1536 with an Act of Union; in another Act of Union in 1707, England and Scotland agreed to permanently join as Great Britain; 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 Ireland; the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921 formalized a partition of Ireland; six northern Irish counties remained part of the United Kingdom as Northern Ireland and the current name of the country, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, was adopted in 1927
National holiday:
the UK does not celebrate one particular national holiday
Constitution:
unwritten; partly statutes, partly common law and practice
Legal system:
common law tradition with early Roman and modern continental influences; has nonbinding judicial review of Acts of Parliament under the Human Rights Act of 1998; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); Heir Apparent Prince CHARLES (son of the queen, born 14 November 1948)
head of government: Prime Minister Anthony (Tony) BLAIR (since 2 May 1997)
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the prime minister
elections: none; the monarchy is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually the prime minister
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament comprised of House of Lords (618 seats; consisting of approximately 500 life peers, 92 hereditary peers, and 26 clergy) and House of Commons (646 seats since 2005 elections; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms unless the House is dissolved earlier)
elections: House of Lords - no elections (note - in 1999, as provided by the House of Lords Act, elections were held in the House of Lords to determine the 92 hereditary peers who would remain there; elections are held only as vacancies in the hereditary peerage arise); House of Commons - last held 5 May 2005 (next to be held by May 2010)
election results: House of Commons - percent of vote by party - Labor 35.2%, Conservative 32.3%, Liberal Democrats 22%, other 10.5%; seats by party - Labor 356, Conservative 197, Liberal Democrat 62, other 31; seats by party in the House of Commons as of 10 February 2006: Labor 353, Conservative 196, Liberal Democrat 63, Scottish National Party/Plaid Cymru 9, Democratic Unionist 9, Sinn Fein 5 (but refuse to vote), other 11
note: in 1998 elections were held for a Northern Ireland Assembly (because of unresolved disputes among existing parties, the transfer of power from London to Northern Ireland came only at the end of 1999 and has been suspended four times, the latest occurring in October 2002); in 1999, there were elections for a Scottish Parliament and a Welsh Assembly
Judicial branch:
House of Lords (highest court of appeal; several Lords of Appeal in Ordinary are appointed by the monarch for life); Supreme Courts of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland (comprising the Courts of Appeal, the High Courts of Justice, and the Crown Courts); Scotland's Court of Session and Court of the Justiciary
Political parties and leaders:
Conservative and Unionist Party [David CAMERON]; Democratic Unionist Party (Northern Ireland) [Rev. Ian PAISLEY]; Labor Party [Anthony (Tony) BLAIR]; Liberal Democrats [Sir Menzies CAMPBELL]; Party of Wales (Plaid Cymru) [Ieuan Wyn JONES]; Scottish National Party or SNP [Alex SALMOND]; Sinn Fein (Northern Ireland) [Gerry ADAMS]; Social Democratic and Labor Party or SDLP (Northern Ireland) [Mark DURKAN]; Ulster Unionist Party (Northern Ireland) [Sir Reg EMPEY]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament; Confederation of British Industry; National Farmers' Union; Trades Union Congress
International organization participation:
AfDB, Arctic Council (observer), AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, C, CBSS (observer), CDB, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, ESA, EU, FAO, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, MIGA, MONUC, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), SECI (observer), UN, UN Security Council, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNMOVIC, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador David G. MANNING; note - will be replaced the Sir Nigel E. SHEINWALD in the autumn of 2007
chancery: 3100 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 588-6500
FAX: [1] (202) 588-7870
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco
consulate(s): Dallas, Denver, Miami, Orlando
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Robert Holmes TUTTLE
embassy: 24 Grosvenor Square, London, W1A 1AE
mailing address: PSC 801, Box 40, FPO AE 09498-4040
telephone: [44] (0) 20 7499-9000
FAX: [44] (0) 20 7629-9124
consulate(s) general: Belfast, Edinburgh
Flag description:
blue field with the red cross of Saint George (patron saint of England) edged in white superimposed on the diagonal red cross of Saint Patrick (patron saint of Ireland), which is superimposed on the diagonal white cross of Saint Andrew (patron saint of Scotland); properly known as the Union Flag, but commonly called the Union Jack; the design and colors (especially the Blue Ensign) have been the basis for a number of other flags including other Commonwealth countries and their constituent states or provinces, and British overseas territories
Communications United Kingdom
Telephones - main lines in use:
32.943 million (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
61.091 million (2004)
Telephone system:
general assessment: technologically advanced domestic and international system
domestic: equal mix of buried cables, microwave radio relay, and fiber-optic systems
international: country code - 44; 40 coaxial submarine cables; satellite earth stations - 10 Intelsat (7 Atlantic Ocean and 3 Indian Ocean), 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region), and 1 Eutelsat; at least 8 large international switching centers
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 219, FM 431, shortwave 3 (1998)
Radios:
84.5 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
228 (plus 3,523 repeaters) (1995)
Televisions:
30.5 million (1997)
Internet country code:
.uk
Internet hosts:
6.065 million (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
more than 400 (2000)
Internet users:
37.6 million (2005)
Transportation United Kingdom
Airports:
471 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 334
over 3,047 m: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 33
1,524 to 2,437 m: 149
914 to 1,523 m: 86
under 914 m: 58 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 137
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 23
under 914 m: 112 (2006)
Heliports:
11 (2006)
Pipelines:
condensate 565 km; condensate/gas 6 km; gas 21,575 km; liquid petroleum gas 59 km; oil 5,094 km; oil/gas/water 161 km; refined products 4,444 km (2006)
Railways:
total: 17,156 km
standard gauge: 16,814 km 1.435-m gauge (5,384 km electrified)
broad gauge: 342 km 1.600-m gauge (in Northern Ireland) (2005)
Roadways:
total: 388,008 km
paved: 388,008 km (includes 3,520 km of expressways) (2005)
Waterways:
3,200 km (620 km used for commerce) (2003)
Merchant marine:
total: 449 ships (1000 GRT or over) 11,049,317 GRT/11,731,680 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 24, cargo 54, chemical tanker 50, container 146, liquefied gas 17, passenger 9, passenger/cargo 65, petroleum tanker 33, refrigerated cargo 17, roll on/roll off 26, vehicle carrier 8
foreign-owned: 215 (Australia 3, Denmark 46, Finland 1, France 4, Germany 76, Greece 7, Ireland 1, Italy 4, Netherlands 3, Norway 36, NZ 1, South Africa 5, Spain 1, Sweden 15, Switzerland 3, Taiwan 1, Turkey 2, US 6)
registered in other countries: 368 (Algeria 13, Antigua and Barbuda 7, Argentina 4, Australia 2, Bahamas 69, Barbados 5, Belgium 2, Bermuda 9, Brazil 1, Brunei 8, Cape Verde 1, Cayman Islands 10, Cyprus 6, Denmark 1, Finland 1, French Southern and Antarctic Lands 1, Georgia 4, Gibraltar 4, Greece 9, Hong Kong 43, India 1, Indonesia 2, Italy 3, South Korea 2, Liberia 41, Malta 8, Marshall Islands 12, Morocco 1, Netherlands 19, Netherlands Antilles 3, Norway 6, Panama 37, Papua New Guinea 6, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 13, Singapore 9, Slovakia 1, Spain 1, Thailand 2, Tonga 1) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Hound Point, Immingham, Milford Haven, Liverpool, London, Southampton, Sullom Voe, Teesport
Military United Kingdom
Military branches:
Army, Royal Navy (includes Royal Marines), Royal Air Force
Military service age and obligation:
16 years of age for voluntary military service; women serve in military services, but are excluded from ground combat positions and some naval postings (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 14,607,724
females age 16-49: 14,028,738 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 12,046,268
females age 16-49: 11,555,893 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$42,836.5 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
2.4% (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues United Kingdom
Disputes - international:
in 2002, Gibraltar residents voted overwhelmingly by referendum to reject any "shared sovereignty" arrangement between the UK and Spain; the Government of Gibraltar insists on equal participation in talks between the two countries; Spain disapproves of UK plans to grant Gibraltar greater autonomy; Mauritius and Seychelles claim the Chagos Archipelago (British Indian Ocean Territory), and its former inhabitants since their eviction in 1965; most Chagossians reside in Mauritius, and in 2001 were granted UK citizenship, where some have since resettled; in May 2006, the High Court of London reversed the UK Government's 2004 orders of council that banned habitation on the islands; UK rejects sovereignty talks requested by Argentina, which still claims the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; territorial claim in Antarctica (British Antarctic Territory) overlaps Argentine claim and partially overlaps Chilean claim; Iceland, the UK, and Ireland dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm
Illicit drugs:
producer of limited amounts of synthetic drugs and synthetic precursor chemicals; major consumer of Southwest Asian heroin, Latin American cocaine, and synthetic drugs; money-laundering center

This page was last updated on 17 April, 2007


 

Source: CIA World Factbook










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