United Kingdom Demographics

What is the population of United Kingdom?

Population 65,761,117
Population Growth Rate 0.55%
Urban Population 79.6%
Population in Major Urban Areas LONDON (capital) 9.005 million; Birmingham 2.272 million; Manchester 2.213 million; West Yorkshire 1.625 million; Glasgow 1.137 million; Newcastle upon Tyne 874,000
Nationality Noun Briton(s), British (collective plural)
Nationality 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%
Languages Spoken English

note: the following are recognized regional languages: Scots (about 30% of the population of Scotland), Scottish Gaelic (about 60,000 in Scotland), Welsh (about 20% of the population of Wales), Irish (about 10% of the population of Northern Ireland), Cornish (some 2,000 to 3,000 in Cornwall)

United Kingdom Learning

What is school like in United Kingdom?


The state school system is free to students in the United Kingdom. Even all writing materials, textbooks, and other needs are provided for the students, unlike most countries that claim to provide free education but actually charge for a range of things, such as textbooks and other similar learning materials.

The condition of the schools depends mostly on the community they are in. Schools in older areas with high unemployment and lower family incomes are often quite rundown. In schools filled with students from high-income families, the buildings and grounds are nicely maintained. Although all classrooms have at least one computer, additional computers are more likely to be found in schools in upscale neighborhoods. The classrooms themselves are decorated by the teachers and can be quite colorful if the teacher is particularly creative. In primary school, the class size is normally kept to about 30 students in each class. Because teachers do a fair amount of small group learning activities, it is quite normal for the students to sit around tables rather than at desks, with five or six students at each group table.

As students get older, and subjects are taught by different teachers, the students change classrooms to attend the right teacher’s class.

Because of shootings in several schools a few years ago, all doors in primary schools and all classrooms in secondary schools are locked during school hours. This is true throughout the United Kingdom.

Education Culture

Although each division of the United Kingdom has its own system of state education, run by its own department of education, they are all being increasingly guided by national curriculum guidelines. (Scotland’s educational system is independent of those in the rest of the United Kingdom.) By law, children aged 5 through 11 attend elementary school (in Northern Ireland, children begin at 4 years of age). From 12 to 16, they attend secondary school, and then all students must take and pass a general test called the General Certificate of Secondary Education, or GCSE. After passing the test, those students who want to continue their education may take an additional two years of secondary school, which prepares them for higher education.

Most state-run schools are free. About 95% of all schoolchildren will attend the state school system. The remainder attend independent schools funded by parents or private gifts of money. These independent boarding schools emphasize discipline, character, and scholarship, and have developed very impressive reputations (for example, Eton, Harrow, and Winchester). Although it sounds odd to American readers, the schools funded and supported by the government are known as “state” schools, whereas the independent schools are called “public” schools.

Some primary schools also offer nursery schools for children three and four years of age. Others may offer such classes for ages four and five-year-old preschool children.

The school year is broken into three “semesters.” The first begins in early September and ends in mid-December, with a one-week break in late October. The second semester begins in early January and ends in late March, with a one-week break in mid-February. The third begins in mid-April and ends in late July, with a one-week break in late May or early June. The breaks are called “holidays.” Students total 190 days in school each year, and it is not normally acceptable for families to take their children out of school for personal vacations when school is in session.

No discussion of schools in the United Kingdom would be complete without mentioning boarding schools. Students attending these schools live at the school while classes are in session. Students will usually go home during the holiday, although it is also common for students to invite their classmates home to spend the holiday with them. For those students whose families are unavailable (because of personal travel or distance from the school), arrangements can be made for them to stay at the school or travel to a local “host” family. Boarding schools provide a good breakfast each day, a healthy lunch (such as a salad buffet or a fish, pork, or chicken meal), and a good dinner in the evening. Saturday mornings will bring classes, but that afternoon is often filled with sports activities, and Sundays are free for relaxing all day.


Both state and public school students wear uniforms, but the uniform might consist of a sweatshirt with the school name and logo on it, accompanied by conservative pants or skirts. Wealthier public schools with high standards may require more formal uniforms, including blazers and ties for boys, and white blouses and conservative blouses for girls.

Since 1988, the government has dictated a national curriculum for teachers to follow, with standard books and course materials for all students.

School generally begins at 9:00 a.m. The day begins with a daily assembly. Two subjects are taught in the morning, with a playtime break at about 10:30, and then lunch comes at noon. Students often bring a packed lunch from home, and they have an hour’s break for eating and playing. For students who choose to eat at school in the “canteen,” each meal usually has a meat, chicken, or fish portion, at least two portions of fruits and vegetables, and a bread, potato, or cereal. Parents usually pay a modest fee for lunch, although they can pay less or nothing if they qualify for low-income assistance. At about 1:00, school begins again, with two more subjects in the afternoon. At 3:15 the school day is over.

Computers are introduced to students from the beginning, including four- and five-year-olds. Language classes are required beginning at age 11, the most common being French and German. Because there are high numbers of immigrant families in the >United Kingdom, English is required for those who are not native to the U.K.

Primary schools teach English, math, science, technology, history, geography, art and design, music, and physical education. Schools also have to teach religious education, although parents have the right to pull their children from a religious class if they want. The courses taught in secondary schools will vary according to the emphasis each school has on either particular vocations or academic pursuits.

To School

Primary school begins at 9:00 a.m., so students gather shortly before then to ensure they are on time. Students up to age 8 must walk to school if they live within two miles of the school. Students aged 8 and older must walk if they live within three miles of the school. If a child lives more than this distance from a suitable school, he or she is entitled to free transportation on a bus. Bicycles are also an option for getting to school. Some wealthier families may send their children to school by car. After school, students return home the same way they came.

United Kingdom Health Information

What are the health conditions in United Kingdom?

Contraceptive Prevalence Rate - female 15-49 84%
Contraceptive Prevalence - note note: percent of women aged 16-49
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 9.33
Drinking Water Source - percent of rural population improved 100%
Drinking Water Source - percent of urban population improved 100%
Health Expenditures - percent of GDP 9.3%
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.2%
HIV/Aids Deaths 950
Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population 3
Infant Mortality Rate - female deaths/1,000 live births 4.05
Infant Mortality Rate - male deaths/1,000 live births 4.93
Infant Mortality Rate - total deaths/1,000 live births 4.5
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 12
Mean Age for Mother's First Birth 30
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 26.9%
People Living with HIV/AIDS 85,000
Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population 2.77
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of urban population improved 100%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of rural population improved 100%
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 1.9

United Kingdom Life Expectancy

How long do people live in United Kingdom?

Life Expectancy at Birth 80 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - female 82 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - male 78 Years
Median Age 40 Years
Median Age - female 41 Years
Median Age - male 39 Years

United Kingdom Infant Mortality - per 1,000 live births

United Kingdom median age, birth rate and death rates

Birth Rate - births/1,000 population 12
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 9.33
Median Age 40 Years
Median Age - female 41 Years
Median Age - male 39 Years
Net Migration Rate - migrant(s)/1,000 population 2.57
Population Growth Rate 0.55%
Sex Ratio 0-14 Years - male/female 1.05
Sex Ratio 15-24 Years - male/female 1.04
Sex Ratio 25-54 Years - male/female 1.04
Sex Ratio 55-64 Years - male/female .99
Sex Ratio at Birth - male/female 1.05
Sex Ratio of Total Population - male/female .99
Sex Ratio Over 64 Years - male/female .8

United Kingdom Medical Information

What are the health conditions in United Kingdom?

Medical Facilities and Health Information

While medical services are widely available, free care under the National Health System (NHS) is allowed only for UK residents and certain EU nationals. Tourists and short-term visitors will be charged for medical treatment in the United Kingdom. Charges may be significantly higher than those assessed in the United States. Travelers to the United Kingdom should ensure they have adequate medical insurance to cover the cost of any treatment received - please see additional insurance information below.

You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

Hiking in higher elevations can be treacherous. Several people die each year while hiking, particularly in Scotland, often due to sudden changes in weather. We encourage visitors, including experienced hikers, to discuss their intended routes with local residents familiar with the area and to adhere closely to recommendations.

United Kingdom Education

What is school like in United Kingdom?

Education Expenditures - percent of GDP 6.2%
Literacy - female 99%
Literacy - male 99%
Literacy - total population 99%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over has completed five or more years of schooling
School Life Expectancy - female 17 Years
School Life Expectancy - male 16 Years
Total School Life Expectancy - (primary to tertiary) 16 Years

United Kingdom Literacy

Can people in United Kingdom read?

Literacy - female 99%
Literacy - male 99%
Literacy - total population 99%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over has completed five or more years of schooling
Predominant Language English

note: the following are recognized regional languages: Scots (about 30% of the population of Scotland), Scottish Gaelic (about 60,000 in Scotland), Welsh (about 20% of the population of Wales), Irish (about 10% of the population of Northern Ireland), Cornish (some 2,000 to 3,000 in Cornwall)

United Kingdom Crime

Is United Kingdom a safe place to visit?

Crime Information

The United Kingdom and Gibraltar benefit from generally low crime rates. Overall crime rates have decreased over the past decade; however, according to Metropolitan Police statistics, serious crime (i.e. assault, robbery, burglary, gun-enabled crimes, and rape) in some London boroughs has increased. As with any major metropolitan city, U.S. citizens are urged to be cautious and aware of their surroundings.

Typical criminal incidents include pick pocketing, mugging, and “snatch and grab” theft of mobile phones, watches, and jewelry. Theft of bags left unattended in restaurants, pubs, hotel lobbies and parked cars is common. Thieves often target unattended cars parked at tourist sites and roadside restaurants, looking for laptop computers and handheld electronic equipment - especially global positioning satellite (GPS) equipment. Pickpockets target tourists, especially at crowded public and historic sites, restaurants, and bus stops, as well as on buses, trains, and the London Underground.

U.S. citizens should also be alert to other criminal schemes, such as imposters posing as undercover police officers and "fining" tourists for bogus minor offenses (littering or not having ID documents, for example). A legitimate Metropolitan Police Services officer will never demand an immediate cash payment from a citizen or tourist.

You should avoid walking alone in isolated areas, including public parks, especially after dark, as these are advantageous venues for muggers and thieves. You should be especially careful using underground pedestrian tunnels at night or when there is little foot traffic. As a general rule, either walk the extra distance to use a surface crossing or wait until there are other adult pedestrians entering the tunnel.

In London, you should use only licensed Black Cabs or car services recommended by hotels or tour operators. Unlicensed taxis or private cars posing as taxis may offer low fares, but are often uninsured and may have unlicensed drivers. In some instances, travelers have been robbed and/or raped while using these cars. You can access 7,000 licensed Black Cabs using one telephone number: 087-1871-8710. This taxi booking service combines all six of London’s radio taxi circuits, allowing you to telephone 24 hours a day if you need a cab. Alternatively, to find a licensed minicab, text HOME to 60835 on your mobile phone to get the telephone number to two licensed minicab companies in the area. If you know in advance when you will be leaving for home, you can pre-book your return journey. The Safe Travel at Night partnership among the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London, and the Mayor of London maintains a website with additional information on cabs and car services.

Don’t leave your drink unattended in bars and nightclubs. There have been some instances of drinks being spiked with illegal substances, leading to incidents of robbery and rape.

U.S. citizens should take steps to ensure the safety of their U.S. passports. Visitors in the United Kingdom and Gibraltar are not expected to produce identity documents for police authorities and thus may secure their passports in hotel safes or residences.

ATM Fraud: You don’t need to carry a passport to cash a traveler’s check. There are many ATMs that link to U.S. banking networks. When using ATMs in the United Kingdom, you should use the same common-sense personal security measures you would use in the United States. ATM fraud in the United Kingdom is very sophisticated and incorporates technologies that surreptitiously record customer ATM card and PIN information. Avoid using ATMs that look in any way temporary in structure or location, or are located in isolated areas. Be aware that in busy public areas, thieves use distraction techniques, such as waiting until the PIN has been entered and then pointing to money on the ground or attempting to hand out a free newspaper. When the ATM user is distracted, a colleague will quickly withdraw cash and leave. If you are distracted in any way, cancel the transaction immediately. Don’t use an ATM if there is anything attached to the machine or if it looks unusual in any way. If the machine does not return your card, report the incident to the issuing bank immediately. If you need to visit an ATM always try to use the machines inside the bank, as they are monitored by CCTV and are the least likely to be targeted by thieves.

Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal to bring back into the United States, but you may also be breaking local law.

Scams: Financial crimes conducted over the Internet have increased dramatically in the United Kingdom as scammers attempt to convince you to send them money. These fraudulent schemes can include lotteries, online dating/social networking services, inheritance notices, work permits/job offers, bank overpayments, or schemes that make it appear you are helping a loved one or a friend in trouble.

In many cases, scammers troll the Internet for victims, and spend weeks or months building a relationship. Once they have gained their victim's trust, the scammers create a false situation and ask for money. Scammers can be very clever and deceptive, creating sad and believable stories that will make you want to send them money. A current scheme involves someone posing as a member of U.S. Special Forces who establishes a romantic relationship via online dating services, and then starts to ask for money once that relationship is established.

A number of U.S. citizens are lured to the United Kingdom each year in the belief that they have won a lottery or have inherited from the estate of a long-lost relative. U.S. citizens may also be contacted by persons with whom they have become acquainted over the Internet – or even receive an email purportedly from a friend or family member – who now need funds urgently to pay for hospital treatment, hotel bills, taxes, or airline security fees. Invariably, the person contacted becomes a victim of fraud. If you receive an email from family or friends requesting assistance you should first try calling them, as that person may not know their e-mail account has been hacked.You should view any unsolicited invitations to travel to the United Kingdom to collect winnings or an inheritance with skepticism. Many of these e-mails will contain grammatical and spelling errors. Also, there are no licenses or fees required when transiting a UK airport, emergency medical treatment is never withheld pending payment of fees, and hotels in the UK will not detain guests for lack of funds without involving the police. A claim that a hospital or hotel will not let someone depart until their bill is settled is usually a red flag for a scam.

United Kingdom Penalties for Crime

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in the United Kingdom, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. If you break local laws in the United Kingdom, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.

Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in the United Kingdom are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States.

Many pocket knives and other blades, and mace or pepper spray canisters, although legal in the United States, are illegal in the United Kingdom and will result in arrest and confiscation if detected. Please refer to “ A UK Customs Guide," detailing which items visitors are prohibited from bringing into the United Kingdom.

Air travelers to and from the United Kingdom should be aware that penalties against alcohol-related and other in-flight crimes (“air rage”) are stiff and are being enforced with prison sentences. Please also see our information on customs regulations that pertain when returning to the United States.

Drivers of non-UK-registered vehicles may have to provide an on-the-spot deposit of up to 900 pounds (approximately $1400) if stopped for a motoring offense. If the driver cannot pay due to lack of cash or credit, the vehicle may be impounded until payment is made, and a release fee will be charged in addition to the deposit.

Non-UK-resident drivers charged with motoring offenses are often unable to provide a verifiable address where a summons (subpoena) to appear in court can be delivered and/or enforced, or fail to return for court if released on bail. U.S. citizens may be detained and arrested if they cannot provide a UK address to receive a subpoena or are about to depart the United Kingdom and have to be brought to court quickly for a motoring offense. If alleged offenders attend court and are found not guilty, the deposit is returned.

UK authorities nearly always promptly notify the U.S. Embassy or a consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in the UK, but to ensure the State Department is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the U.S. Embassy or nearest consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained in the UK.

United Kingdom Population Comparison

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