United Kingdom - GB - GBR - GBR - Europe

Last updated: April 16, 2024
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Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Jane HARTLEY (since 19 July 2022)

embassy: 33 Nine Elms Lane, London, SW11 7US

mailing address: 8400 London Place, Washington DC  20521-8400

telephone: [44] (0) 20-7499-9000

FAX: [44] (0) 20-7891-3845

email address and website: SCSLondon@state.gov

consulate(s) general: Belfast, Edinburgh

Age structure

0-14 years: 16.91% (male 5,901,611/female 5,620,070)

15-64 years: 64.03% (male 21,997,962/female 21,628,742)

65 years and over: 19.06% (2023 est.) (male 5,953,187/female 7,036,912)
2023 population pyramid
This is the population pyramid for United Kingdom. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends.

For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

Geographic coordinates

54 00 N, 2 00 W

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2023 est.)


92 (2024)

Natural hazards

winter windstorms; floods

Area - comparative

twice the size of Pennsylvania; slightly smaller than Oregon
Area comparison map

twice the size of Pennsylvania; slightly smaller than Oregon

Military service age and obligation

some variations by service, but generally 16-36 years of age for enlisted (with parental consent under 18) and 18-29 for officers; minimum length of service 4 years; women serve in all military services including combat roles; conscription abolished in 1963 (2024)

note 1: women made up over 11% of the military's full-time personnel in 2023

note 2: the British military allows Commonwealth nationals who are current UK residents and have been in the country for at least 5 years to apply; it also accepts Irish citizens

note 3: the British Army has continued the historic practice of recruiting Gurkhas from Nepal to serve in the Brigade of Gurkhas; the British began to recruit Nepalese citizens (Gurkhas) into the East India Company Army during the Anglo-Nepalese War (1814-1816); the Gurkhas subsequently were brought into the British Indian Army and by 1914, there were 10 Gurkha regiments, collectively known as the Gurkha Brigade; following the partition of India in 1947, an agreement between Nepal, India, and Great Britain allowed for the transfer of the 10 regiments from the British Indian Army to the separate British and Indian armies; four of the regiments were transferred to the British Army, where they have since served continuously as the Brigade of Gurkhas


The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was born of the unification of the Kingdoms of England and Scotland, which previously had been distinct states joined in a personal union, under the 1701 Acts of Union. The island of Ireland, also joined via a personal union, was incorporated under the 1800 Acts of Union, while Wales had been part of the Kingdom of England since the 16th century. The United Kingdom has historically played a leading role in developing parliamentary democracy and in advancing literature and science. The 18th and 19th centuries saw the rapid expansion of the British Empire despite the loss of the Thirteen Colonies, and at its zenith in the early 20th century, the British Empire stretched over one-fourth of the earth's surface. The first half of the 20th century saw two World Wars seriously deplete the UK's strength 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 and a founding member of NATO and the Commonwealth of Nations, the UK pursues a global approach to foreign policy. The devolved Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, and the Northern Ireland Assembly were established in 1998.

The UK was an active member of the EU after its accession in 1973, although it chose to remain outside the Economic and Monetary Union. However, motivated in part by frustration at a remote bureaucracy in Brussels and massive migration into the country, UK citizens on 23 June 2016 voted by 52 to 48 percent to leave the EU. The UK became the only country to depart the EU on 31 January 2020, after prolonged negotiations on EU-UK economic and security relationships had been hammered out.

Environment - current issues

air pollution improved but remains a concern, particularly in the London region; soil pollution from pesticides and heavy metals; decline in marine and coastal habitats brought on by pressures from housing, tourism, and industry

Environment - international agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Heavy Metals, Air Pollution-Multi-effect Protocol, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protection, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Population below poverty line

18.6% (2017 est.)

note: % of population with income below national poverty line

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 3%

highest 10%: 25% (2020 est.)

note: % share of income accruing to lowest and highest 10% of population

Exports - commodities

cars, gold, gas turbines, crude petroleum, packaged medicines (2021)

Exports - partners

United States 13%, Germany 9%, Netherlands 8%, Ireland 7%, Switzerland 6% (2021)

Administrative divisions

England: 24 two-tier counties, 32 London boroughs and 1 City of London or Greater London, 36 metropolitan districts, 59 unitary authorities (including 4 single-tier counties*);

two-tier counties: Cambridgeshire, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon, East Sussex, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, North Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Sussex, Worcestershire

London boroughs and City of London or Greater London: Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston upon Thames, Lambeth, Lewisham, City of London, Merton, Newham, Redbridge, Richmond upon Thames, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth, Westminster

metropolitan districts: Barnsley, Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford, Bury, Calderdale, Coventry, Doncaster, Dudley, Gateshead, Kirklees, Knowlsey, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, Oldham, Rochdale, Rotherham, Salford, Sandwell, Sefton, Sheffield, Solihull, South Tyneside, St. Helens, Stockport, Sunderland, Tameside, Trafford, Wakefield, Walsall, Wigan, Wirral, Wolverhampton

unitary authorities: Bath and North East Somerset; Bedford; Blackburn with Darwen; Blackpool; Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole; Bracknell Forest; Brighton and Hove; City of Bristol; Buckinghamshire; Central Bedfordshire; Cheshire East; Cheshire West and Chester; Cornwall; Darlington; Derby; Dorset; Durham County*; East Riding of Yorkshire; Halton; Hartlepool; Herefordshire*; Isle of Wight*; Isles of Scilly; City of Kingston upon Hull; Leicester; Luton; Medway; Middlesbrough; Milton Keynes; North East Lincolnshire; North Lincolnshire; North Northamptonshire; North Somerset; Northumberland*; Nottingham; Peterborough; Plymouth; Portsmouth; Reading; Redcar and Cleveland; Rutland; Shropshire; Slough; South Gloucestershire; Southampton; Southend-on-Sea; Stockton-on-Tees; Stoke-on-Trent; Swindon; Telford and Wrekin; Thurrock; Torbay; Warrington; West Berkshire; West Northamptonshire; Wiltshire; Windsor and Maidenhead; Wokingham; York

Northern Ireland: 5 borough councils, 4 district councils, 2 city councils;

borough councils: Antrim and Newtownabbey; Ards and North Down; Armagh City, Banbridge, and Craigavon; Causeway Coast and Glens; Mid and East Antrim

district councils: Derry City and Strabane; Fermanagh and Omagh; Mid Ulster; Newry, Murne, and Down

city councils: Belfast; Lisburn and Castlereagh

Scotland: 32 council areas;

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: 22 unitary authorities;

unitary authorities: Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Isle of Anglesey, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Neath Port Talbot, Newport, Pembrokeshire, Powys, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Swansea, The Vale of Glamorgan, Torfaen, Wrexham

Agricultural products

wheat, milk, barley, sugar beets, potatoes, rapeseed, poultry, oats, pork, beef

Military and security forces

United Kingdom Armed Forces (aka British Armed Forces, aka His Majesty's Armed Forces): British Army, Royal Navy (includes Royal Marines), Royal Air Force (2024)


revenues: $998.006 billion (2020 est.)

expenditures: $1.362 trillion (2020 est.)


name: London

geographic coordinates: 51 30 N, 0 05 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

time zone note: the time statements apply to the United Kingdom proper, not to its crown dependencies or overseas territories

etymology: the name derives from the Roman settlement of Londinium, established on the current site of London around A.D. 43; the original meaning of the name is uncertain

Imports - commodities

gold, cars, natural gas, crude petroleum, packaged medicines (2021)


temperate; moderated by prevailing southwest winds over the North Atlantic Current; more than one-half of the days are overcast


12,429 km


history: uncoded; partly statutes, partly common law and practice

amendments: proposed as a bill for an Act of Parliament by the government, by the House of Commons, or by the House of Lords; passage requires agreement by both houses and by the monarch (Royal Assent); many previous, last in 2020 -  The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020, European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020

Dependent areas

Anguilla; Bermuda; British Indian Ocean Territory; British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; Falkland Islands; Gibraltar; Montserrat; Pitcairn Islands; Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; Turks and Caicos Islands (12)

Exchange rates

British pounds (GBP) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
0.811 (2022 est.)
0.727 (2021 est.)
0.78 (2020 est.)
0.783 (2019 est.)
0.75 (2018 est.)

Executive branch

chief of state: King CHARLES III (since 8 September 2022); Heir Apparent Prince WILLIAM (son of the king, born 21 June 1982); note - CHARLES succeeded his mother, Queen ELIZABETH II, after serving as Prince of Wales (heir apparent) for over 64 years - the longest such tenure in British history

head of government: Prime Minister Rishi SUNAK (Conservative) (since 25 October 2022)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually becomes the prime minister; election last held on 12 December 2019 (next to be held no later than 28 January 2025)

note: in addition to serving as the UK head of state, the British sovereign is the constitutional monarch for 14 additional Commonwealth countries (these 15 states are each referred to as a Commonwealth realm)

Fiscal year

6 April - 5 April

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

Illicit drugs

a major consumer and transshipment point, though not a source, for illicit drugs; among the highest consumer of heroin and cocaine in Europe; one of the largest markets for cannabis; a major source of precursor or essential chemicals used in the production of illicit narcotics


no official date of independence: 927 (minor English kingdoms unite); 3 March 1284 (enactment of the Statute of Rhuddlan uniting England and Wales); 1536 (Act of Union formally incorporates England and Wales); 1 May 1707 (Acts of Union formally unite England, Scotland, and Wales as Great Britain); 1 January 1801 (Acts of Union formally unite Great Britain and Ireland as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland); 6 December 1921 (Anglo-Irish Treaty formalizes partition of Ireland; six counties remain part of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland); 12 April 1927 (Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act establishes current name of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)


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

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 12 justices, including the court president and deputy president); note - the Supreme Court was established by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 and implemented in 2009, replacing the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords as the highest court in the United Kingdom

judge selection and term of office: judge candidates selected by an independent committee of several judicial commissions, followed by their recommendations to the prime minister, and appointed by the monarch; justices serve for life

subordinate courts: England and Wales: Court of Appeal (civil and criminal divisions); High Court; Crown Court; County Courts; Magistrates' Courts; Scotland: Court of Sessions; Sheriff Courts; High Court of Justiciary; tribunals; Northern Ireland: Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland; High Court; county courts; magistrates' courts; specialized tribunals

Land boundaries

total: 499 km

border countries (1): Ireland 499 km

Land use

agricultural land: 71% (2018 est.)

arable land: 25.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.2% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 45.7% (2018 est.)

forest: 11.9% (2018 est.)

other: 17.1% (2018 est.)

Legal system

common law system; has nonbinding judicial review of Acts of Parliament under the Human Rights Act of 1998

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
House of Lords (membership not fixed; as of October 2023, 778 lords were eligible to participate in the work of the House of Lords - 663 life peers, 90 hereditary peers, and 25 clergy; members are appointed by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister and non-party political members recommended by the House of Lords Appointments Commission); note - House of Lords total does not include ineligible members or members on leave of absence
House of Commons (650 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority popular vote to serve 5-year terms unless the House is dissolved earlier)

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; elections held only as vacancies in the hereditary peerage arise)
House of Commons - last held on 12 December 2019 (next to be held no later than 28 January 2025)

election results:
House of Lords - composition - men 557, women 228, percent of women 29%

House of Commons - percent of vote by party - Conservative 54.9%, Labor 30.8%, SNP 6.8%, Lib Dems 2.2%, DUP 1.2%, Sinn Fein 1.1%, Plaid Cymru .6%, other 2.5%; seats by party - Conservative 365, Labor 202, SNP 48, Lib Dems 11, DUP 8, Sinn Fein 7, Plaid Cymru 4, other 5; composition as of February 2024 - men 424, women 226, percent of women 34.8%; total Parliament percent of women 31.6%

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

continental shelf: as defined in continental shelf orders or in accordance with agreed upon boundaries

exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm

International organization participation

ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BIS, C, CBSS (observer), CD, CDB, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EITI (implementing country), ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, G-20, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MONUSCO, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), SELEC (observer), SICA (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNMISS, UNOOSA, UNRWA, UN Security Council (permanent), UNSOM, UPU, Wassenaar Arrangement, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

National holiday

the UK does not celebrate one particular national holiday


noun: Briton(s), British (collective plural)

adjective: British

Natural resources

coal, petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, lead, zinc, gold, tin, limestone, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, potash, silica sand, slate, arable land

Geography - note

lies near vital North Atlantic sea lanes; only 35 km from France and linked by tunnel under the English Channel (the Channel Tunnel or Chunnel); because of heavily indented coastline, no location is more than 125 km from tidal waters

Economic overview

high-income, diversified non-EU European economy; sixth-largest importer and exporter; global financial and diplomatic leader; nominal consumption-led growth; high inflation and increased interest rates eroding purchasing power despite real wage growth


502 km condensate, 9 km condensate/gas, 28,603 km gas, 59 km liquid petroleum gas, 5,256 km oil, 175 km oil/gas/water, 4,919 km refined products, 255 km water (2013)

Political parties and leaders

Alliance Party (Northern Ireland) [Naomi LONG] 
Conservative and Unionist Party [Rishi SUNAK]
Democratic Unionist Party or DUP (Northern Ireland) [interim leader Gavin ROBINSON]
Green Party of England and Wales or Greens [Carla DENYER and Adrian RAMSAY]
Labor (Labour) Party [Sir Keir STARMER]
Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems) [Sir Ed DAVEY]
Party of Wales (Plaid Cymru) [Llyr GRUFFYDD]
Scottish National Party or SNP [Humza YOUSAF]
Sinn Fein (Northern Ireland) [Mary Lou MCDONALD]
Social Democratic and Labor Party or SDLP (Northern Ireland) [Colum EASTWOOD]
UK Independence Party or UKIP [Neil HAMILTON]
Ulster Unionist Party or UUP (Northern Ireland) [Doug BEATTIE]

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Dover, Felixstowe, Immingham, Liverpool, London, Southampton, Teesport (England); Forth Ports (Scotland); Milford Haven (Wales)

oil terminal(s): Fawley Marine terminal, Liverpool Bay terminal (England); Braefoot Bay terminal, Finnart oil terminal, Hound Point terminal (Scotland)

container port(s) (TEUs): Felixstowe (3,700,000), London (3,111,000), Southampton (1,871,081) (2021)

LNG terminal(s) (import): Dragon, Isle of Grain, South Hook, Teesside


18 years of age; universal

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: UK’s telecom market remains one of the largest in Europe, characterized by competition, affordable pricing, and its technologically advanced systems; mobile penetration above the EU average; government to invest in infrastructure and 5G technologies with ambition for a fully-fibered nation by 2033; operators expanded the reach of 5G services in 2020; super-fast broadband available to about 95% of customers; London is developing smart city technology, in collaboration with private, tech, and academic sectors (2021)

domestic: fixed-line is 48 per 100 and mobile-cellular is 120 per 100 (2021)

international: country code - 44; Landing points for the GTT Atlantic, Scotland-Northern Ireland -1, & -2, Lanis 1,-2, &-3, Sirius North, BT-MT-1, SHEFA-2, BT Highlands and Islands Submarine Cable System, Northern Lights, FARICE-1, Celtic Norse, Tampnet Offshore FOC Network, England Cable, CC-2, E-LLan, Sirius South, ESAT -1 & -2, Rockabill, Geo-Eirgrid, UK-Netherlands-14, Circle North & South, Ulysses2, Conceto, Farland North, Pan European Crossing, Solas, Swansea-Bream, GTT Express, Tata TGN-Atlantic & -Western Europe, Apollo, EIG, Glo-1, TAT-14, Yellow, Celtic, FLAG Atlantic-1, FEA, Isle of Scilly Cable, UK-Channel Islands-8 and SeaMeWe-3 submarine cables providing links throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Australia, and US; 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 (2019)


mostly rugged hills and low mountains; level to rolling plains in east and southeast

Government type

parliamentary constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm

Country name

conventional long form: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; note - the island of Great Britain includes England, Scotland, and Wales

conventional short form: United Kingdom

abbreviation: UK

etymology: self-descriptive country name; the designation "Great Britain," in the sense of "Larger Britain," dates back to medieval times and was used to distinguish the island from "Little Britain," or Brittany in modern France; the name Ireland derives from the Gaelic "Eriu," the matron goddess of Ireland (goddess of the land)


Western Europe, islands - including the northern one-sixth of the island of Ireland - between the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea; northwest of France

Map references


Irrigated land

718 sq km (2018)

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Karen Elizabeth PIERCE (since 8 April 2020)

chancery: 3100 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 588-6500

FAX: [1] (202) 588-7870

email address and website:


consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco

consulate(s): Orlando (FL), San Juan (Puerto Rico)

Internet country code


Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 21,904 (Iran), 15,615 (Eritrea), 11,371 (Sudan), 12,155 (Syria), 10,259 (Afghanistan), 8,009 (Pakistan), 7,699 (Iraq) (mid-year 2022); 255,060 (Ukraine) (as of 12 March 2024)

stateless persons: 5,483 (2022)

GDP (official exchange rate)

$3.089 trillion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: AA- (2020)

Moody's rating: Aaa (2020)

Standard & Poors rating: AA (2016)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

Total renewable water resources

147 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 17 years

male: 17 years

female: 18 years (2020)


urban population: 84.6% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.8% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Broadcast media

public service broadcaster, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), is the largest broadcasting corporation in the world; BBC operates multiple TV networks with regional and local TV service; a mixed system of public and commercial TV broadcasters along with satellite and cable systems provide access to hundreds of TV stations throughout the world; BBC operates multiple national, regional, and local radio networks with multiple transmission sites; a large number of commercial radio stations, as well as satellite radio services are available (2018)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2020 est.)

National anthem

name: "God Save the King"

lyrics/music: unknown

note: in use since 1745; by tradition, the song serves as both the national and royal anthem of the UK; it is known as either "God Save the Queen" or "God Save the King," depending on the gender of the reigning monarch; it also serves as the royal anthem of many Commonwealth nations
This is an audio of the National Anthem for United Kingdom. The national anthem is generally a patriotic musical composition - usually in the form of a song or hymn of praise - that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions, or struggles of a nation or its people. National anthems can be officially recognized as a national song by a country's constitution or by an enacted law, or simply by tradition. Although most anthems contain lyrics, some do not.

Major urban areas - population

9.648 million LONDON (capital), 2.791 million Manchester, 2.665 million Birmingham, 1.929 million West Yorkshire, 1.698 million Glasgow, 952,000 Southampton/Portsmouth (2023)

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Physicians density

3 physicians/1,000 population (2020)

Hospital bed density

2.5 beds/1,000 population (2019)

National symbol(s)

lion (Britain in general); lion, Tudor rose, oak (England); lion, unicorn, thistle (Scotland); dragon, daffodil, leek (Wales); shamrock, flax (Northern Ireland); national colors: red, white, blue (Britain in general); red, white (England); blue, white (Scotland); red, white, green (Wales)

Mother's mean age at first birth

29 years (2018 est.)

note: data represents England and Wales only

Contraceptive prevalence rate

76.1% (2010/12)

note: percent of women aged 16-49

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 65.8% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 18.3% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 17.2% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.2% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 30.2% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -31.5% (2017 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 57.7

youth dependency ratio: 27.8

elderly dependency ratio: 29.8

potential support ratio: 3.4 (2021 est.)


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of the United Kingdom

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Population distribution

the core of the population lies in and around London, with significant clusters found in central Britain around Manchester and Liverpool, in the Scottish lowlands between Edinburgh and Glasgow, southern Wales in and around Cardiff, and far eastern Northern Ireland centered on Belfast

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2021)

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 20 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 794

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 165,388,610 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 6,198,370,000 (2018) mt-km

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix


Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 99.8% of population

rural: 99.8% of population

total: 99.8% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.2% of population

rural: 0.2% of population

total: 0.2% of population (2020 est.)

Ethnic groups

White 87.2%, Black/African/Caribbean/black British 3%, Asian/Asian British: Indian 2.3%, Asian/Asian British: Pakistani 1.9%, mixed 2%, other 3.7% (2011 est.)


Christian (includes Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 59.5%, Muslim 4.4%, Hindu 1.3%, other 2%, unspecified 7.2%, none 25.7% (2011 est.)



note: the following are recognized regional languages: Scots (about 30% of the population of Scotland), Scottish Gaelic (about 60,000 speakers 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 people in Cornwall) (2012 est.)

Imports - partners

China 13%, Germany 11%, United States 8%, Netherlands 6%, Norway 5% (2021)

Communications - note

note 1: the British Library claims to be the largest library in the world with well over 150 million items and in most known languages; it receives copies of all books produced in the UK or Ireland, as well as a significant proportion of overseas titles distributed in the UK; in addition to books (print and digital), holdings include: journals, manuscripts, newspapers, magazines, sound and music recordings, videos, maps, prints, patents, and drawings

note 2: on 1 May 1840, the United Kingdom led the world with the introduction of postage stamps; the Austrian Empire had examined the idea of an "adhesive tax postmark" for the prepayment of postage in 1835; while the suggestion was reviewed in detail, it was rejected for the time being; other countries (including Austria) soon followed the UK's example with their own postage stamps; by the 1860s, most countries were issuing stamps; originally, stamps had to be cut from sheets; the UK issued the first postage stamps with perforations in 1854

Disputes - international

UK-Argentina: UK rejects sovereignty talks requested by Argentina, which still claims the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

UK-Argentina-Chile: the UK’s territorial claim in Antarctica (British Antarctic Territory) overlaps Argentine claim and partially overlaps Chilean claim

UK-Denmark: the UK, Iceland, and Ireland dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm; Iceland, Norway, and the Faroe Islands signed an agreement in 2019 extending the Faroe Islands’ northern continental shelf area

UK (Gibraltar)-Spain: in 2002, Gibraltar residents voted overwhelmingly by referendum to reject any "shared sovereignty" arrangement between the UK and Spain; the Government of Gibraltar insisted on equal participation in talks between the two countries; Spain disapproved of UK plans to grant Gibraltar greater autonomy; London and Madrid reached a temporary agreement at the end of 2020 that allowed Gibraltar to be part of the passport-free Schengen zone; talks are expected to continue in 2022

UK-Mauritius-Seychelles: Mauritius and Seychelles claim the Chagos Archipelago (British Indian Ocean Territory); in 2001, the former inhabitants of the archipelago, evicted 1967 - 1973, were granted UK citizenship and the right of return, followed by Orders in Council in 2004 that banned rehabitation, a High Court ruling reversed the ban, a Court of Appeal refusal to hear the case, and a Law Lords' decision in 2008 denied the right of return; in addition, the UK created the world's largest marine protection area around the Chagos Islands prohibiting the extraction of any natural resources therein


highest point: Ben Nevis 1,345 m

lowest point: The Fens -4 m

mean elevation: 162 m

Transportation - note

begun in 1988 and completed in 1994, the Channel Tunnel (nicknamed the Chunnel) is a 50.5-km (31.4-mi) rail tunnel beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover that runs from Folkestone, Kent, England to Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais in northern France; it is the only fixed link between the island of Great Britain and mainland Europe

Current health expenditure

12% of GDP (2020)


total population: NA

male: NA

female: NA

Major infectious diseases

note: on 31 August 2023, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an updated Travel Alert for polio in Europe; the United Kingdom is currently considered a high risk to travelers for circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV); vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV) and that has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus; this means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an “infected” person who received oral polio vaccine; the CDC recommends that before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series; before travel to any high-risk destination, the CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 145,000 regular forces (80,000 Army including the Gurkhas; 33,000 Navy including the Royal Marines; 32,000 Air Force) (2023)

note: the military also has approximately 40-45,000 reserves and other personnel on active duty

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the inventory of the British military is comprised of a mix of domestically produced and imported Western weapons systems; in recent years, the US has been the leading supplier of armaments to the UK; the UK defense industry is capable of producing a wide variety of air, land, and sea weapons systems and is one of the world's top weapons suppliers; it also cooperates with other European countries and the US (2023)

Military deployments

approximately 1,000 Brunei; approximately 400 Canada (BATUS); approximately 2,500 Cyprus (250 for UNFICYP); approximately 1,000 Estonia (NATO); approximately 1,200 Falkland Islands; approximately 200 Germany; 570 Gibraltar; more than 1,000 Middle East (counter-ISIS campaign); up to 350 Kenya (BATUK); 150 Poland (NATO) (2023)

note: as of 2023, UK had about 8,000 troops deployed in various countries in Europe supporting NATO and European security through exercises and task forces, including in Estonia, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, and North Macedonia

Terrorist group(s)

Terrorist group(s): Continuity Irish Republican Army; Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS); New Irish Republican Army; al-Qa'ida

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Military - note

the British military is a highly regarded and experienced force with a long history, a global presence, and a wide range of missions and responsibilities; these responsibilities include protecting the UK, its territories, national interests, and values, preventing conflict, providing humanitarian assistance, participating in international peacekeeping, building relationships, and fulfilling the UK’s alliance and treaty commitments; in addition to its role in the UN, the UK is a leading member of NATO and has made considerable military contributions to NATO missions in such places as Afghanistan, the Baltics, and Iraq, as well the Baltic and Mediterranean seas and the waters of the North Atlantic; it is also a member of the Five Power Defense Arrangements (FPDA), a series of mutual assistance agreements reached in 1971 embracing Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the UK; in 2014, the UK led the formation of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF), a pool of high-readiness military forces from the Baltic and Scandinavian countries able to respond to a wide range of contingencies both in peacetime and in times of crisis or conflict; the UK military also has strong bilateral ties with a variety of foreign militaries, particularly the US, with which it has a mutual defense treaty; British and US military forces have routinely operated side-by-side across a wide range of operations; other close military relationships include Australia, France, and the Netherlands; in 2010, for example, France and the UK signed a declaration on defense and security cooperation that included greater military interoperability and a Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF), a deployable, combined Anglo-French military force for use in a wide range of crisis scenarios, up to and including high intensity combat operations

the British Army is divided into a Field Army and a Home Command; the Field Army has three divisions, including one comprised of light forces and designed for expeditionary operations, a heavy division with armored and mechanized brigades, and a specialized division that brings together special operations, intelligence, reconnaissance, electronic warfare, and information operations capabilities; the Army also has some independent brigades and aviation forces

the Royal Navy conducts operations globally and has a sustained presence in the Baltic, Caribbean, and Mediterranean seas, the Middle East, and the South Atlantic Ocean, and increasingly in the Pacific Ocean; it is organized into a surface fleet, a submarine service, a fleet air arm, marines, and a fleet auxiliary, which is a civilian support branch that provides logistical and operational support to military operations; the heart of the surface fleet are two aircraft carriers, the largest and most advanced warships ever built for the Royal Navy, which serve as the fleet’s flagships; the carriers are complemented by six destroyers and 14 frigates, as well as two large amphibious assault ships and flotillas of patrol and mine warfare vessels; the Navy also has nine attack submarines and four ballistic missile submarines that form the UK's strategic nuclear deterrent force; the air arm has modern, US-made multirole fighter aircraft, as well as anti-submarine capable helicopters; the Royal Marines have an amphibious infantry/commando brigade and special forces

the Royal Air Force also conducts operations globally and has a wide variety of aircraft types and capabilities, including fighter, surface attack, airborne early warning and control, intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, reconnaissance, signals intelligence, maritime patrol, air-to-air refueling, and transport organized into groups, stations, and squadrons; it has a mix of more than 150 modern European- and US-made multirole fighter aircraft

in addition, the British military has a Space Command (established in 2021) staffed by Army, Navy, and Air Force personnel, as well as civilians and key members of the commercial sector to manage space operations, training, and capabilities; it established a joint service National Cyber Force in 2020; in 2019, the UK formed the joint service Strategic Command to develop and manage the British military's medical services, training and education, defense intelligence, and information systems, as well as joint overseas operations; national-level special forces (UK Special Forces) also fall under the Strategic Command

the British Armed Forces were formed in 1707 as the armed forces of the Kingdom of Great Britain when England and Scotland merged under the terms of the Treaty of Union; while the origins of the armed forces of England and Scotland stretch back to the Middle Ages, the first standing armies for England and Scotland were organized in the 1600s while the navies were formed in the 1500s; the Royal Marines were established in 1755; the Royal Air Force was created in April 1918 by the merger of the British Army's Royal Flying Corps and the Admiralty's Royal Naval Air Service (2023)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 6.23 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 1.01 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 1.18 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 31.567 million tons (2014 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 8,602,008 tons (2015 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 27.3% (2015 est.)

Average household expenditures

on food: 8.1% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 3.2% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 9.52 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 379.02 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 49.16 megatons (2020 est.)

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 33 (28 cultural, 4 natural, 1 mixed); note - includes one site in Bermuda

selected World Heritage Site locales: Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast (n); Ironbridge Gorge (c); Stonehenge, Avebury, and Associated Sites (c); Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd (c); Blenheim Palace (c); City of Bath (c); Tower of London (c); St Kilda (m); Maritime Greenwich (c); Old and New Towns of Edinburgh (c); Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (c); The English Lake District (c)

Child marriage

women married by age 18: 0.1% (2020 est.)


production: 2.892 million metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 9.401 million metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 1.309 million metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 5.537 million metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 26 million metric tons (2019 est.)

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 37.8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 15.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 4.3% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 25.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 2.6% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 15% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Natural gas

production: 32.48 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 75.7 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 6.873 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 51,050,178,000 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 180.661 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)


total petroleum production: 890,400 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 1,578,100 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 818,200 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 891,700 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 2.5 billion barrels (2021 est.)

Gross reproduction rate

0.79 (2023 est.)

Currently married women (ages 15-49)

50.7% (2023 est.)


0.13% of GDP (2022 est.)
0.11% of GDP (2021 est.)
0.12% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities

Nuclear energy

Number of operational nuclear reactors: 9 (2023)

Number of nuclear reactors under construction: 2

Net capacity of operational nuclear reactors: 5.88GW (2023)

Percent of total electricity production: 14.8% (2021)

Percent of total energy produced: 8% (2021)

Number of nuclear reactors permanently shut down: 8

Space program overview

has a comprehensive space program and is active across all areas of the space sector outside of launching humans into space, including satellite/space launch vehicles (SLVs)/rockets and their components, space probes, satellites and satellite subcomponents, space sensors, spaceports, and various other space-related technologies; as a founding member of the European Space Agency (ESA), it is heavily involved in ESA programs and has bi-lateral relations with many members; is a close partner of the US NASA and since 2016 has forged over 350 relationships with international organizations across nearly 50 developing countries; has an extensive commercial space sector that produces SLVs, SLV components, satellites, satellite subcomponents and sensors, and other space-related technologies; the UK’s space sector generates revenues of over $20 billion per year (2023)

note: further details about the key activities, programs, and milestones of the country’s space program, as well as government spending estimates on the space sector, appear in Appendix S

Space launch site(s)

preparing commercial space ports at SaxaVord (Shetland Islands) and Sutherland (Cornwall); a 2021 national space strategy called for additional space launch facilities in Argyll, Prestwick, Outer Hebrides (Scotland), and Snowdonia (Wales) (2023)

Space agency/agencies

UK Space Agency (UKSA; established in 2010); the UKSA replaced the British National Space Center (BNSC; organized in 1985); UK Space Command (formed 2021) (2023)


total global geoparks and regional networks: 9

global geoparks and regional networks: Black Country; Cuilcagh Lakelands (includes Ireland); English Riviera; Fforest Fawr; GeoMôn; Mourne Gullion Strangford; North Pennines AONB; North-West Highlands; Shetland (2023)

Labor force

34.376 million (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 13.2% (2021 est.)

male: 14.6%

female: 11.8%

Net migration rate

3.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Median age

total: 40.6 years (2023 est.)

male: 39.9 years

female: 41.4 years

Debt - external

$8.722 trillion (2019 est.)
$8.697 trillion (2018 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

10 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$176.41 billion (2022 est.)
$194.181 billion (2021 est.)
$180.054 billion (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars


3,200 km (2009) (620 km used for commerce)

Refined petroleum products - imports

907,500 bbl/day (2017 est.)

Public debt

185.35% of GDP (2021 est.)
195.88% of GDP (2020 est.)
160.34% of GDP (2019 est.)

note: central government debt as a % of GDP

Total fertility rate

1.63 children born/woman (2023 est.)

Military expenditures

2.3% of GDP (2023 est.)
2.3% of GDP (2022)
2.3% of GDP (2021)
2.4% of GDP (2020)
2.1% of GDP (2019)

Unemployment rate

3.73% (2022 est.)
4.83% (2021 est.)
4.47% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment


68,138,484 (2023 est.) United Kingdom

constituent countries by percentage of total population:
England 84.3%
Scotland 8.2%
Wales 4.6%
Northern Ireland 2.8%

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-1.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Internet users

total: 64.99 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 97% (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

398.084 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 23.5 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 216.237 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 158.346 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)


total: 243,610 sq km

land: 241,930 sq km

water: 1,680 sq km

note 1: the percentage area breakdown of the four UK countries is: England 53%, Scotland 32%, Wales 9%, and Northern Ireland 6%

note 2: includes Rockall and the Shetland Islands, which are part of Scotland

Taxes and other revenues

26.22% (of GDP) (2021 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$3.187 trillion (2022 est.)
$3.054 trillion (2021 est.)
$2.81 trillion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars


total: 416,461 km (2022)


1,043 (2024)

Infant mortality rate

total: 3.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

male: 4.3 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.3 deaths/1,000 live births

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 80 million (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 120 (2021 est.)

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

32.6 (2020 est.)

note: index (0-100) of income distribution; higher values represent greater inequality

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

7.92% (2022 est.)
2.52% (2021 est.)
0.99% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

Refined petroleum products - exports

613,800 bbl/day (2017 est.)

Current account balance

-$101.738 billion (2022 est.)
-$14.886 billion (2021 est.)
-$78.217 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

Real GDP per capita

$47,600 (2022 est.)
$45,600 (2021 est.)
$41,900 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 27,330,297 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 40 (2020 est.)

Tobacco use

total: 15.4% (2020 est.)

male: 17.3% (2020 est.)

female: 13.5% (2020 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

27.8% (2016)

Energy consumption per capita

119.894 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

Death rate

9.1 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Birth rate

10.8 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)


installed generating capacity: 113.153 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 289.688 billion kWh (2020 est.)

exports: 4.481 billion kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 22.391 billion kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 27.746 billion kWh (2020 est.)

Merchant marine

total: 868 (2023)

by type: bulk carrier 34, container ship 46, general cargo 62, oil tanker 13, other 713

 note: includes Channel Islands (total fleet 2; general cargo 1, other 1); excludes Isle of Man

Children under the age of 5 years underweight



$1.112 trillion (2022 est.)
$933.904 billion (2021 est.)
$786.95 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars


$1.024 trillion (2022 est.)
$929.185 billion (2021 est.)
$802.02 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 29.798 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 48 (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

1.29 million bbl/day (2017 est.)

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 9.8 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 3.53 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 3.3 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 2.35 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.61 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 82.1 years (2023 est.)

male: 80 years

female: 84.2 years

Real GDP growth rate

4.35% (2022 est.)
8.67% (2021 est.)
-10.36% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

Industrial production growth rate

-0.95% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency


total: 16,390 km (2020) 6,167 km electrified

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 0.7% (2017 est.)

industry: 20.2% (2017 est.)

services: 79.2% (2017 est.)

Revenue from forest resources

0.01% of GDP (2018 est.)

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

Education expenditures

5.5% of GDP (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

0.49% (2023 est.)