the united kingdom

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom and Britain, is a sovereign state located off the north-western coast of continental Europe. The country includes the island of Great Britain, the...

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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom and Britain, is a sovereign state located off the north-western coast of continental Europe. The country includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that shares a land border with another state—the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the UK is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean in the west and north, the North Sea in the east, the English Channel in the south and the Irish Sea in the west.

The form of government is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. The capital city is London. The UK consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The latter three have devolved administrations, each with varying powers, based in their capital cities, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast respectively. Associated with the UK, but not constitutionally part of it, are the three Crown dependencies: Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man. The United Kingdom has fourteen British Overseas Territories. These are remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in late 19th and early 20th centuries, encompassed almost a quarter of the world's land surface and was the largest empire in history. British influence can still be observed in the prevalence of language, culture and legal systems in many of its former colonies.

The UK is a developed country and has the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and eighth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK is still referred to as a great power and retains considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific and political influence internationally. It is a recognised nuclear weapons state and its military expenditure ranks fourth in the world.

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experiences (5)

have you spent time in the united kingdom? share your experiences

4

the united kingdom - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 11/06/13.

Which best describes how old you were while in the UK?

I moved to the UK when I had just turned 18, and left at age 25.

What brought you to the UK? Where were you before?

I grew up outside of St. Louis, MO and moved to the UK after high school to start university. I was an international student at the University of Edinburgh.

Describe the city you lived in in the UK and your impressions of it.

I lived in Edinburgh for four years, and then lived in London for about three years. Edinburgh is: beautiful, architectural, cold, walkable, hilly. London is: busy, expensive, extraordinary, central, cultural, large.

How did the city you lived in compare to other cities in the UK?

I was drawn to Edinburgh because I had been on vacation as a child and absolutely loved it. I was drawn to London because of how much I enjoyed visiting. Also, it is very much the capital and was a good location for my job hunt, and most of my friends were also moving there after university, or already lived there. I'm not sure how to answer the "comparison" part of this question. London is significantly different from the rest of the UK in terms of demographics, but all cities in the UK have their...

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the united kingdom - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/24/13.

Before I start I should probably mention that at the moment I'm living in Japan.

I lived in the UK over three periods.

I first arrived in the UK when I was 22 in 2002 after having done the first year of my studies at a university in Australia. I lived in London for the remainder of my studies - 2 years, plus another 6 months while deciding what to do. London probably remains my favourite city in the world (that I have lived in). The city is big enough and diverse enough that you can get almost anything, be it in terms of food, books or whatever. It has some great museums, good cinemas and good clubs. People in London are a strange bunch. I made some very good friends while at university, but the average person on the street is not always that friendly and in some areas can be downright scary (especially in south London). But I never was personally attacked. Being white male and Danish, I never experienced any forms of discrimination, beyond the friendly jab at my accent, luckily there was German in my circle of friend who absorbed a lot of the (good humoured) jokes.

Socialising in London happens at the pub, and on a more intimate scale at home (being students, often with a...

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2

the united kingdom - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 09/28/13.

I lived in England for a year from 23-24.

I moved to Sheffield, England from Philadelphia, PA. I was brought to England by one simple thing, Football. English football has been a source of pure joy and frustration for me for years and my addiction finally pushed me to move to the UK to revel in it.

Sheffield was much like where I grew up, Greensboro, N.C. It was a large town where everyone seemed to know everyone and it grew out from the town center to suburbs and then finally farm land.

People are easy going and enjoy their football and a pint of ale at the end of a long day. Sheffield is historically a steel town and most people have ancestors who worked steel mills and such. Since the steel industry has retracted and grown smaller they have moved into other industries and look towards education and tourism. There are two Universities in Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam (which I attended) and University of Sheffield. I once heard something like 60% of all money made was money from students. Essentially it is a big college town.

I am a pretty outgoing individual so making friends was never too hard. My closest friends came from having a bit too much to drink and partying too...

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2

luton, united kingdom - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 11/13/13.

I was 24 when I came there. Before that I lived in Lithuania where I had my bachelor's degree finished. The city I lived in the UK was a small industrial town called Luton, far from the best place to be in England. High crime rate, lots of immigrants, families on social welfares. The only thing good about it was probably a close proximity from London and several international airports.

Possibility to study high quality Master‘s degree in Human Resource management brought me to the UK and relatively good tuition of course (now it’s not so good). I had a preference to continue my studies in another country and it had to be English speaking, because I didn’t want to feel isolated with a language barrier in some other random European country, and UK is quite close for a cheap return home.

To answer about the people in the UK, I would have to include all of immigrants, because there are so many of them, I would not hesitate to claim that truly British people are only 50 % of the population.

It would be kind of alright if the immigrants were Europeans, but they’ve got, Africans, Pakistanis, Bangladeshi, Indians (they are quite alright though), and Albanians. They don’t integrate;...

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1

the united kingdom - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 30s

posted by anonymous on 10/30/13.

I've lived in the UK now for just over 4 years.

I was 35 when I arrived here, and I lived in Sydney, Australia before then.

My husband was transferred for work. The Sydney office was closing, so it was either move over here or he needed to get another job.

I live in Maidenhead, which is a small town just west of London, in the county of Berkshire. It's a pretty affluent area of the UK, but as with most places, has it's more 'affordable' parts.

We moved here because this is where my husband's office was based. No point being too far away from the reason we were here!

I love the people here, though some of them can be a little uptight compared to Australians. Everyone is polite, though if you talk to a stranger in the street, or supermarket, they always tend to look a little shocked!

It's always difficult to make friends in new places, especially as an adult, but I found being different was a good thing. I was a bit of a novelty to some people. It helped having a young son in school, though it was difficult to break into the school mum circle. My social life basically came from the lovely neighbours we had. 3 families who lived close by have become so important to me, as...

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demographics

population

63,047,162 (July 2012 est.)

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)

languages

English

religions

Christian (Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 71.6%, Muslim 2.7%, Hindu 1%, other 1.6%, unspecified or none 23.1% (2001 census)

age structure

0-14: 0-14 years: 17.3% (male 5,597,024/ female 5,321,456)

15-64: 15-64 years: 65.8% (male 20,980,815/ female 20,479,803)

65+: 65 years and over: 16.9% (male 4,732,895/ female 5,935,169) (2012 est.)

urbanization

80% of total population (2010)

life expectancy

80.17 years

obesity rate

22.7% (2002)

literacy rate

99%

average years of education

16 years

economics

cost of living

7/10 (medium-high)

economic overview

The UK, a leading trading power and financial center, is the third largest economy in Europe after Germany and France. Over the past two decades, the government has greatly...

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The UK, a leading trading power and financial center, is the third largest economy in Europe after Germany and France. Over the past two decades, the government has greatly reduced public ownership and contained the growth of social welfare programs. Agriculture is intensive, highly mechanized, and efficient by European standards, producing about 60% of food needs with less than 2% of the labor force. The UK has large coal, natural gas, and oil resources, but its oil and natural gas reserves are declining and the UK became a net importer of energy in 2005. Services, particularly banking, insurance, and business services, account by far for the largest proportion of GDP while industry continues to decline in importance. After emerging from recession in 1992, Britain's economy enjoyed the longest period of expansion on record during which time growth outpaced most of Western Europe. In 2008, however, the global financial crisis hit the economy particularly hard, due to the importance of its financial sector. Sharply declining home prices, high consumer debt, and the global economic slowdown compounded Britain's economic problems, pushing the economy into recession in the latter half of 2008 and prompting the then BROWN (Labour) government to implement a number of measures to stimulate the economy and stabilize the financial markets; these include nationalizing parts of the banking system, temporarily cutting taxes, suspending public sector borrowing rules, and moving forward public spending on capital projects. Facing burgeoning public deficits and debt levels, in 2010 the CAMERON-led coalition government (between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats) initiated a five-year austerity program, which aims to lower London's budget deficit from over 10% of GDP in 2010 to nearly 1% by 2015. In November 2011, Chancellor of the Exchequer George OSBORNE announced additional austerity measures through 2017 because of slower-than-expected economic growth and the impact of the euro-zone debt crisis. The CAMERON government raised the value added tax from 17.5% to 20% in 2011. It has pledged to reduce the corporation tax rate to 23% by 2015. The Bank of England (BoE) implemented an asset purchase program of up to £325 billion (approximately $525 billion) as of February 2011. During times of economic crisis, the BoE coordinates interest rate moves with the European Central Bank, but Britain remains outside the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

major industries

machine tools, electric power equipment, automation equipment, railroad equipment, shipbuilding, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, electronics and communications...

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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

gdp per capita

$36,500 (2011 est.)

gdp growth rate

0.8% (2011 est.)

gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 0.7% industry: 21.5% services: 77.8% (2011 est.)

unemployment rate

8.1% (2011 est.)

population below poverty line

14% (2006 est.)

gini index

34 (2005) country comparison to the world: 91 36.8 (1999)