Key facts about the United Kingdom
If you're looking for key facts about the UK and its overseas territories, there are good sources of information available online and elsewhere.
'UK' or 'Britain'?
The full title of this country is 'the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland':
- Great Britain is made up of England, Scotland and Wales
- the United Kingdom (UK)is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
'Britain' is used informally, usually meaning the United Kingdom.
The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not part of the UK. The geographical term'British Isles' covers the UK, all of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
In mid-2003 the UK was home to 59.6 million people. The average age was 38.4 years, an increase on 1971 when it was 34.1 years. There are more people in the UK aged over 60 (12.4 million), than there are children under 16 (11.7 million).
The UK has a growing population. It grew by 232,100 people in the year to mid-2003, and the growth was 0.4 per cent in each of the years since mid-2001. The UK population has increased by 6.5 per cent in the last 30 years or so, from 55.9 million in mid-1971. It is one of the largest populations in the European Union (EU), accounting for 13 per cent of the total.
Every ten years, a population census takes place. Statistics for the last census (2001) are available online.Full details, including individual census returns, are available for the censuses held in 1901 and earlier.
Statistical snapshots of the UK
The Department for National Statistics publishes a series of online factsheets on different themes which combine data from the 2001 Census and other sources to illustrate the topic, and provide links to further information.
UK 2005 - The Official Yearbook
The Official Yearbook of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a publication from the Office for National Statistics andcanbedownloaded for free in PDF format.
Thebook covers government, international relations, defence, education and training, the labour market, social protection, health, crime and justice, religion, culture, communications and the media, sport, environment, housing, planning and regeneration, transport, the economy, public finance, international trade and investment, science, engineering and technology, agriculture, fishing and forestry, manufacturing and construction, energy and natural resources, and financial services.
The British Council
The British Council is the UK's international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations and promotes UK culture and language abroad.
VisitBritain promotes Britain overseas and in the UK as a tourist destination. VisitBritain works in partnership with the national tourist boards in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to promote an attractive image of Britain.
Non-government sources of information
- CIA World Factbook entry on the UK Opens new window
Overseas territories and Crown Dependencies
Britain's 14 Overseas Territories, spread throughout the globe, are diverse communities. They range from the tiny island of Pitcairn with its 47 inhabitants, set in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, to Bermuda, which has a population of 62,059 and is one of the world's major financial centres.
The Overseas Territories are: Anguilla, British Antarctic Territory, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena and Dependencies (Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha), Turk and Caicos Islands, Pitcairn Island, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus.
The Crown Dependencies are not part of the United Kingdom but are internally self-governing dependencies of the Crown. The Crown Dependencies are the Isle of Man, the Bailiwick of Jersey and the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
European territories and dependencies
This content is subject to Crown Copyright