Living in the UK
The UK is an exciting, eclectic, successful and progressive place to live and work in the 21st century.
With a population approaching nearly 60 million, the UK is a growing country, offering a wealth of opportunities to people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures from across the world. Consequently, becoming a UK citizen is a much prized possession.
The UK - different countries offering different things
The UK is made up of four nations or countries.
England is a country of great contrast and diversity, both in the places you can go to and in the people you meet. All the regions of England are within easy reach of the exciting capital city, London, famed for first-class culture, fascinating history and pageantry, its world-class restaurants and theatres.
Scotland is everything you imagine - whisky, golf, romance of the clans and a wealth of castles and historic sites. The Highlands area is one of the last wildernesses in Europe.
Wales captivates visitors with its rich character and landscapes. The Welsh speak their own Celtic language as well as English and have their own culture, poetry and song, which they celebrate in concerts and unique summer festivals known as eisteddfodau.
Northern Ireland is known for its vibrant cities with shopping, nightlife and festivals, outdoor activities, fabulous food and unspoilt retreats where you can unwind, relax and recharge.
Key Facts and Figures
The mid-2004 population of the constituent countries of the United Kingdom is estimated as follows:
Sources: Mid-year population estimates 2004: Office for National Statistics, General Register Office for Scotland Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.
- The native-born English outnumber their Scots and Welsh counterparts by nine to one.
- A census of the population has taken place every 10 years since 1801. The next census is due in 2011.
- Total net worth of the UK including financial assets at the end of 2004 was £5,843 billion, an increase of £404 billion on the previous year.
- Currency is (£) pound sterling or GBP (Great British Pound).
- The unemployment rate in 2005 was 4.7 per cent.
- The number of unemployed people was 1.42 million in 2005.
- The economy is one of the strongest in Europe; inflation, interest rates, and unemployment remain low.
- Inflation rate 1.4 per cent.
- Most people work between 31 and 45 hours per week.
- 7.5 per cent of people living in Britain were born abroad.
- 51 per cent of the population is made up of women and they make up 45 per cent of the workforce.
- The UK is one of the quartet of trillion-dollar economies of Western Europe.
- The United Kingdom has 23 cultural and natural heritage sites listed by UNESCO.