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Demographics of the United Kingdom
UK Population Pyramid.svg
Population pyramid in 2020
Population67,081,234 (30 June 2020)[1]
Density270/km2 (700/sq mi) (2020 census)
Growth rate0.53% (2022 est.)
Birth rate10.2 per 1,000 (2020)
Death rate10.3 per 1,000 (2020)
Life expectancy81 years (2010–2015)
 • male79.04 years of age (2018–2020)
 • female82.86 years of age (2018–2020)
Fertility rate1.61 (2021)
Infant mortality rate3.82 deaths/1,000 live births (2022)
Net migration rate3.59 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2022 est.)
Age structure
0–14 years19.0%
15–64 years62.5%
65 and over18.5%
Sex ratio
At birth1.05 male(s)/female
Under 151.05 male(s)/female (2022)
65 and over0.73 male(s)/female (2022)
Nationality
NationalityBritish
Major ethnicWhite: 87.17%
White British: 81.88% (2011)
Minor ethnic
Asian British: (6.3%)
Black British: (3.0%)
British Mixed: (2.0%)
Other: (0.9%)
Language
SpokenBritish English

The current population of the United Kingdom is estimated at over 67.0 million, as of 2020. It is the 21st most populated country in the world and has a population density of 270 people per square kilometre (700 people per square mile), with England having significantly greater density than Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.[2] Almost a third of the population lives in South East England, which is predominantly urban and suburban, with about 9 million in the capital city, London, whose population density is just over 5,200 per square kilometre (13,468 per sq mi).[3]

The population of the UK has undergone demographic transition—that is, the transition from a (typically) pre-industrial population, with high birth and mortality rates and slow population growth, through a stage of falling mortality and faster rates of population growth, to a stage of low birth and mortality rates with, again, lower rates of growth. This growth through 'natural change' has been accompanied in the past two decades by growth through net migration into the United Kingdom, which since 1999 has exceeded natural change.[4]

The United Kingdom's high literacy rate (99% at age 15 and above)[5] is attributable to universal state education, introduced at the primary level in 1870 (Scotland 1872, free 1890[6]) and at the secondary level in 1900. Parents are obliged to have their children educated from the ages of 5 to 16 years (18 in England from 2013),[7] and can continue education free of charge in the form of A-Levels, vocational training, and apprenticeship until the age of 18.

The United Kingdom's population is predominantly indigenous White British (81.88% at the 2011 Census), but due to migration from Commonwealth nations, Britain has become ethnically diverse. The second and third largest non-indigenous racial groups are Asian British at 7% of the population, followed by Black British people at 3% respectively.

The main language of the country is British English. Some Celtic languages, namely Scottish Gaelic and Irish, are still spoken in Scotland and Northern Ireland, respectively, and Cornish has been revived to a limited degree in Cornwall; but the predominant language in these areas is English. Welsh is widely spoken as the first language in North and West Wales, and to lesser extent in the South East Wales, where English is the dominant first language.[citation needed]

History

Before the census, 200–1800

Roman Britain had an estimated population between 2.8 million and 3 million at the end of the second century AD. At the end of the fourth century, it had an estimated population of 3.6 million, of whom 125,000 consisted of the Roman army and their families and dependents.[8] The urban population of Roman Britain was about 240,000 people at the end of the fourth century.[8] Roman Britain's capital city, Londinium, is estimated to have had a population of about 60,000.[9][10]

Following the Roman withdrawal from Britain, Germanic tribes from continental Europe such as the Angles, Saxons and Jutes began a period of significant migration to the southeastern part of the island, notably bringing their language, Old English.[11] Nevertheless, the overall population is believed to have fallen precipitously due to political upheavals and plagues.[12][13] By the time of the compilation of the Domesday Book in the eleventh century, there may have between 1.25 and 2 million people living in England.[14] Though the Domesday Book did not count the English population, it has been regarded as one of the first attempts to produce a census of the country.[15]

Between the years of 1086 and 1750, the English population fluctuated in size due to civil war, famines and plagues.[4] By the end of the 13th century, the population was estimated to have reached between four to six million people, but a combination of factors such as widespread famine and disease in the following century collapsed the population dramatically. An agricultural crisis in 1315 to 1322 and the Black Death in 1348 to 1350 collapsed the population by over a third of its pre-existing number, and the growth rate.[4] By 1377, the population was estimated on a poll-tax of all people aged 14 and over, depending on the population amount of those under 14, to be around 2.2 million to 3.1 million.[4]

Periods of instability over the 15th century such as the War of the Roses caused the population to, while grow, increase at a slowed pace.[4] The general factors behind the slow increase was a high mortality rate due to war, less marriages within the population and late marriages, keeping fertility levels lower then they should have been for the time and a net emigration of English people out of the country.[4] However in contrast to the preceding century, by the 16th century, this situation has elevated itself due to political stability under the Tudor monarchy and little civil unrest which would have resulted in a higher mortality rate.[4] While this was overturned with the English Civil War in 17th century, it allowed the population to grow at a faster pace, causing the population of England to reach a pre-collapse total of 5.74 million by 1750.[4] In Scotland, population growth was not to the same extent as it was in England, which resulted in being significantly lower in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, which is often ascribed to similar factors halting it such as a high mortality rate, especially for infants, and later marriage and childbearing patterns.[4] Ireland on the other hand before the 19th century consistently had rapid population growth, which has been ascribed to higher fertility rates and earlier marriage than England. Furthermore the Plantation of Ulster in the 17th century also affected the population total of Scotland with an estimated 100,000 Scots migrating to Ulster, additionally, the Jacobite rebellion in 1745 also caused significant emigration.[4] The estimated population total of Scotland in 1691 was 1.23 million.[4]

The impetus to collect population data was reinforced due to food supply concerns and war against France in the late 18th century and then beginning of the early 19th century.[4] In 1800, the Census Act was passed, authorising the first modern census in British history to be conducted.[4]

Census established and the demographic transition, 1800 – 2000

Population development of the UK since 1800
Population development of the UK since 1800

The first Census in 1801 revealed that the population of Great Britain was 10.5 million.[16] Of this, England's population had grown to 8.3 million, Wales population rested at 0.6 million while Scotland had a population of 1.6 million.[4] In Ireland, the population rested at an estimate of between 4.5 and 5.5 million inhabitants.[17][18] Since 1801, a census has been conducted every decade, in Ireland this was conducted for the first time in 1821.[4]

During the Industrial Revolution, the demographic transition started to occur within the United Kingdom, going from a pre-industrial society demographically to one of a industrialised society. By 1841 Census, the population of England and Wales rested at 15.9 million,[4][19] doubling in the space of 40 years, for Ireland 8.2 million[4][19][20] and for Scotland 2.6 million.[4][19] This slowed rate of growth for Scotland may be attributed to higher net emigration of Scottish people out of the nation, and two typhus epidemics in 1837 and 1847.[4]

Factors often associated with the beginning of the demographic transition began to change dramatically as well, which contributed to the rapid increase. For example, Child mortality decreased dramatically, the proportion of children born in London who died before the age of five decreased from 74.5 per thousand in 1730–1749 to 31.8 per thousand in 1810–1829.[21] General mortality was thought to have declined as well, especially after 1850 as well as a increased birth rate caused the English population to sustain itself in the second phase of the transition from 1750 to 1870.[4]

Due to this, in the second half of the 19th century the population of England continued to grow quickly from 16.8 million in 1851 to 30.5 million in 1901.[4] This rapid growth was also seen in the other constituent nations. In Wales, the population increased from 0.6 million in 1801 to 2 million in 1901, in Scotland, the population increased from 1.6 million to 4.5 million in 1901. In contrast however and due to the Great Irish Famine, which began in the 1840s, caused the deaths of 1 million Irish people, and caused well over a million to emigrate.[4][22] Mass emigration became entrenched as a result of the famine, and Ireland's population decreased rapidly, from 8.2 million in 1841 to 3.2 million in 1901.[4][23] However this massive population collapse did not effect Northern Ireland to the same extent, due to being more industrialised and urbanised and while the population did decline, it had recovered itself by the beginning of the 20th century.[4] This prolonged period of emigration and net population decline in Irish history was only reversed by the middle of the 20th century.[23]

By the 1870s, the total fertility rate of the UK population declined from 4.88 children per woman in 1871, to 2.4 by 1921, representing a transition to the third stage of the demographic transition.[4] Traditional means of birth control were used such as abstinence and withdrawal facilitated the collapse of the birth rate,[4] this was also hastened by the 1930s by more modern methods of contraception which were beginning to be used with increased acceptance.[4] From 1840 to 1930 there was a net emigration of English people out of the country which resulted in the population being stunted in the capacity it could have grown to.[4]

During the first half of the 20th century, the United Kingdom began to approach the 4th stage of the demographic transition.[4] The end of the First World War and the loss of lifes of troops, coupled with an influenza outbreak is estimated to have caused the death of upwards of 900,000 people in the United Kingdom.[4] This as a consequence shrunk the male population of the Lost Generation and altered the sex ratio, which slowed the growth rate of the population down.[4] By the end of the Second World War, this transition had been completed and the society had a low but fluctuating birth rate, a low death rate and a slowed growth rate of the population.[4] In 1948, the British Nationality Act was signed which allowed the access of the peoples of the British Empire's colonies to migrate to the country being classed in nationality as the same as a native of the United Kingdom. This law, while a unintentional side-effect, led to the start of modern migration to the United Kingdom.

The move into the 4th stage also took place during major social change in the United Kingdom throughout the 1960s.[4] Liberalisation of society during the decade led to the 1967 Abortion Act which legalised abortion in the United Kingdom for the first time, and the 1969 Divorce Reform Act, which liberalised the circumstances under which someone can get a divorce.[4] Between these years, the population fluctuated; from the 1950s onwards the population increased through natural growth but by the time of the mid 1970s the population decreased due to emigration, which took net migration to a negative, and deaths exceeding births.[4] For the first time in 1973, the birth rate of the country fell below replacement level, due to the previous liberalising acts.[24] By the 1980s, the decline of population growth had recovered to a extent due to a reversal of net emigration.[4]

In the 1990s, international migration began to contribute more proportionally to population growth,[4] and by 1998 this had passed natural increase as the main provider of growth.[4] Liberalisation of immigration rules under the new government allowed rapid increase of the number of migrants arriving, quadrupling the number from a net migration rate of 50,000 a year, to 200,000 a year.[25]

Modern century, 2000–present

By the beginning of the 21st century, the population of the United Kingdom rested at a total of 59,113,000 people. In each constituent nation, the population of England was 49,449,700, Scotland had a population of 5,064,200, Wales had a population of 2,910,200 and Northern Ireland a population of 1,689,300.[4] Increased international migration which began to rapidly increase at the end of the 20th century also has brought increased ethnic heterogenization to the British population, not only in ethnicity and race, but also in country of birth. In 2001, the indigenous White British population was registered to be 88.52% of the total population, but by 2011, this proportion of the population had dropped to 81.88%, with other ethnic groups either rising by 50% of their respective total population in 2001 or doubling entirely.

Such rapid immigration growth boosted the general population growth in the United Kingdom higher than what it had been in previous decades. In 2011, the population sat at around 63 million people.

Population

See also: Countries of the United Kingdom by population, List of cities in the United Kingdom § List of cities, and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom

Population development of the UK since 1800
Population development of the UK since 1800

The population of the UK in the last recorded census in 2011 was 63 million, of whom 31 million were male and 32 million female. The 2011 census recorded the population of England as 53.0 million, Scotland as 5.3 million, Wales as 3.1 million, and Northern Ireland as 1.8 million.[26] At the last recorded population estimate, it was estimated that the UK population was at a total of 67,081,234 people.

There are 13 urban areas that exceed 500,000 inhabitants: they are centred on London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds and Bradford, Southampton and Portsmouth, Sheffield, Liverpool, Leicester, Manchester, Belfast, Bristol, Newcastle upon Tyne and Nottingham.[27]

According to the World Population Review,[28] in 2019 there was:

[29]

Population distribution across the country
Part Population
(mid-2020)[30]
Of total population (%) Area
(km2)[31]
Of total
area
(%)
Population
density
(per km2)
England 56,550,138 84.3 84.3
 
130,309 53.7 434
Scotland 5,466,000 8.2 8.2
 
77,911 32.1 70
Wales 3,169,586 4.7 4.7
 
20,736 8.5 153
Northern Ireland 1,895,510 2.8 2.8
 
13,793 5.7 137
United Kingdom 67,081,234 100 100
 
242,749 100 274

Population change over time

The following table shows the total UK population estimated at census dates. Pre 1901 figures include the whole of Ireland, whereas from 1901 onwards only the population of Northern Ireland is included.

United Kingdom population at census dates[32][33][34]
Intercensal
period
Population
at start
of period
Average annual numbers of Population density
at start of
period (per km2)
Overall
change
Births Deaths Net natural
change
Net unnatural
change[a]
1851–1861 27,368,800 154,910 Un­known Un­known Un­known Un­known 87
1861–1871 28,917,900 256,680 Un­known Un­known Un­known Un­known 92
1871–1881 31,484,700 344,980 Un­known Un­known Un­known Un­known 100
1881–1891 34,934,500 286,790 Un­known Un­known Un­known Un­known 111
1891–1901 37,802,400 373,580 Un­known Un­known Un­known Un­known 120
1901–1911 38,237,000 385,000 1,091,000 624,000 467,000 −82,000 156
1911–1921 42,082,000 195,000 975,000 689,000 286,000 −92,000 172
1921–1931 44,027,000 201,000 824,000 555,000 268,000 −67,000 180
1931–1951 46,038,000 213,000 793,000 603,000 190,000 22,000 188
1951–1961 50,225,000 258,000 839,000 593,000 246,000 12,000 205
1961–1971 52,807,000 312,000 962,000 638,000 324,000 −12,000 216
1971–1981 55,928,000 42,000 736,000 666,000 69,000 −27,000 229
1981–1991 56,357,000 108,000 757,000 655,000 103,000   5,000 231
1991–2001 57,439,000 161,000 731,000 631,000 100,000 61,000 235
2001–2011 59,113,000 324,000 722,000 588,000 134,000 191,000 242
2011–2021 63,182,000 259
  1. ^ Migration, etc.

Population density calculated on:

Future projections

Population projections from the UN for the United Kingdom to 2100
Population projections from the UN for the United Kingdom to 2100

The British Office for National Statistics' 2016-based National Population Projections indicated that, if recent trends continue, the UK's population would increase by 3.6 million between mid-2016 and mid-2026. This represents an average annual growth rate of 0.5%. Over the same period, the population of England is projected to grow by 5.9%; for Wales, this figure is 3.1%, while for Scotland and Northern Ireland the figures are 3.2% and 4.2% respectively. These projections did not allow for any possible effects of the UK leaving the European Union.[35]

Vital statistics (1900–2021)

Vital statistics from 1900 to 2021
Average population[36] Live
births[37]
Deaths Natural change Crude
birth rate
(per 1000)
Crude
death rate
(per 1000)
Natural change
(per 1000)
Total Fertility Rate[fn 1][38][39]
1900 41,154,600 1,089,487 695,867 393,620 26.5 16.9 9.6 3.53
1901 41,538,200 1,092,781 655,646 437,135 26.3 15.8 10.5 3.49
1902 41,892,700 1,103,483 636,650 466,833 26.3 15.2 11.1 3.44
1903 42,246,600 1,113,086 613,726 499,360 26.3 14.5 11.8 3.40
1904 42,611,400 1,109,542 651,301 458,241 26 15.3 10.8 3.35
1905 42,980,800 1,092,108 617,516 474,592 25.4 14.4 11 3.30
1906 43,361,100 1,098,475 629,955 468,520 25.3 14.5 10.8 3.24
1907 43,737,800 1,077,851 625,271 452,580 24.6 14.3 10.3 3.19
1908 44,123,800 1,102,345 621,427 480,918 25 14.1 10.9 3.14
1909 44,519,500 1,073,781 614,910 458,871 24.1 13.8 10.3 3.07
1910 44,915,900 1,051,240 578,091 473,149 23.4 12.9 10.5 2.99
1911 42,189,800 1,033,395 620,828 412,567 24.5 14.7 9.8 2.92
1912 42.373,600 1,025,828 580,977 444,851 24.2 13.7 10.5 2.90
1913 42,582,300 1,032,286 600,554 431,732 24.2 14.1 10.1 2.93
1914 42,956,900 1,032,734 611,970 420,764 24 14.2 9.8 2.88
1915 41,361,500 956,877 666,322 290,555 23.1 16.1 7 2.59
1916 40,536,300 922,085 599,621 322,464 22.7 14.8 8 2.60
1917 39,780,700 790,736 589,416 201,320 19.9 14.8 5.1 2.10
1918 39,582,000 787,427 715,246 72,181 19.9 18.1 1.8 2.03
1919 42,944,100 826,202 602,188 224,014 19.2 18.1 5.2 2.31
1920 43,646,400 1,126,849 555,326 571,523 19.2 14 13.1 3.08
1921 43,904,100 1,001,725 544,140 457,585 22.8 12.4 10.4 2.69
1922 44,331,500 924,740 579,480 345,260 20.9 13.1 7.8 2.44
1923 44,563,100 900,130 526,858 373,272 20.2 11.8 8.4 2.38
1924 44,885,600 865,329 563,891 301,438 19.3 12.6 6.7 2.28
1925 45,040,000 842,405 558,132 284,273 18.7 12.4 6.3 2.20
1926 45,217,600 825,174 536,411 288,763 18.2 11.9 6.4 2.15
1927 45,432,000 777,520 568,655 208,865 17.1 12.5 4.6 2.01
1928 45,622,200 783,052 543,664 239,388 17.2 11.9 5.2 2.01
1929 45,731,000 761,963 623,231 138,732 16.7 13.6 3 1.95
1930 45,888,900 769,239 536,860 232,379 16.8 11.7 5.1 1.95
1931 46,073,600 749,974 573,908 176,066 16.3 12.5 3.8 1.89
1932 46,335,000 730,079 567,986 162,093 15.8 12.3 3.5 1.83
1933 46,520,000 691,560 579,467 112,093 14.9 12.5 2.4 1.72
1934 46,666,000 711,483 558,072 153,411 15.2 12 3.3 1.76
1935 46,869,500 711,426 561,324 150,102 15.2 12 3.2 1.75
1936 47,081,300 720,129 580,942 139,187 15.3 12.3 3 1.77
1937 47,288,600 723,779 597,798 125,981 15.3 12.6 2.7 1.79
1938 47,494,100 735,573 559,598 175,975 15.5 11.8 3.7 1.84
1939 47,547,700 726,632 581,857 144,775 15.3 12.2 3.0 1.84
1940 46,026,200 701,875 673,253 28,622 15.2 14.6 0.6 1.74
1941 44,870,400 695,726 627,378 68,348 15.5 14.0 1.5 1.72
1942 44,323,000 771,851 562,356 209,495 17.4 12.7 4.7 1.93
1943 48,261,000 810,524 585,582 224,942 16.8 12.1 4.7 2.03
1944 48,261,600 878,298 573,570 303,728 18.2 11.9 6.3 2.25
1945 48,668,900 795,868 567,027 228,841 16.4 11.7 4.7 2.05
1946 48,987,800 955,266 573,361 381,905 19.5 11.7 7.8 2.47
1947 49,538,700 1,025,427 600,728[40] 424,699 20.7 12.1 8.6 2.69
1948 50,033,200 905,182 546,002 359,180 18.1 10.9 7.2 2.39
1949 50.331,000 855,298 589,876 265,422 17 11.7 5.3 2.26
1950 50,381,500[41] 818,421 590,136 228,285 16.2 11.7 4.5 2.08
1951 50,286,900 796,645 632,786 163,859 15.8 12.6 3.3 2.10
1952 50,429,200 792,917 573,806 219,111 15.7 11.4 4.3 2.15
1953 50,592,900 804,269 577,220 227,049 15.9 11.4 4.5 2.20
1954 50,764,900 794,769 578,400 216,369 15.7 11.4 4.3 2.26
1955 50,946,100 789,315 595,916 193,399 15.5 11.7 3.8 2.33
1956 51,183,500 825,137 597,981 227,156 16.1 11.7 4.4 2.40
1957 51,430,200 851,466 591,200 260,266 16.6 11.5 5.1 2.48
1958 51,652,500 870,497 604,040 266,457 16.9 11.7 5.2 2.55
1959 51,956,300 878,561 606,115 272,446 16.9 11.7 5.2 2.63
1960 52,372,500 918,286 603,328 314,958 17.5 11.5 6.0 2.71
1961 52,807,400 944,365 631,788 312,577 17.9 12.0 5.9 2.78
1962 53,291,800 975,635 636,051 339,584 18.3 11.9 6.4 2.87
1963 53,624,900 990,160 654,288 335,872 18.5 12.2 6.3 2.90
1964 53,990,800 1,014,672 611,130 403,542 18.8 11.3 7.5 2.95
1965 54,349,500 997,275 627,798 369,477 18.3 11.6 6.8 2.88
1966 54,642,700 979,587 643,754 335,833 17.9 11.8 6.1 2.80
1967 54,959,000 961,800 616,710 345,090 17.5 11.2 6.3 2.69
1968 55,213,500 947,231 655,998 291,233 17.2 11.9 5.3 2.61
1969 55,460,600 920,256 659,537 260,719 16.6 11.9 4.7 2.51
1970 55,632,200 903,907 655,385 248,522 16.2 11.8 4.5 2.44
1971 55,928,000 901,648 645,078 256,570 16.1 11.5 4.6 2.40
1972 56,096,000 833,984 673,938 160,046 14.9 12.0 2.9 2.20
1973 56,223,000 779,545 669,692 109,853 13.9 11.9 2.0 2.03
1974 56,235,000 737,138 667,359 69,779 13.1 11.9 1.2 1.92
1975 56,225,000 697,518 662,477 35,041 12.4 11.8 0.6 1.81
1976 56,216,000 675,526 680,799 -5,273 12.0 12.1 -0.1 1.74
1977 56,189,000 657,038 655,143 1,895 11.7 11.7 0.0 1.69
1978 56,178,000 686,952 667,177 19,775 12.2 11.9 0.4 1.75
1979 56,240,000 734,572 675,576 58,996 13.1 12.0 1.0 1.86
1980 56,329,000 753,708 661,519 92,189 13.4 11.7 1.6 1.90
1981 56,357,000 730,712 657,974 72,738 13.0 11.7 1.3 1.82
1982 56,290,000 718,999 662,081 56,918 12.8 11.8 1.0 1.78
1983 56,315,000 721,238 659,101 62,137 12.8 11.7 1.1 1.77
1984 56,409,000 729,401 644,918 84,483 12.9 11.4 1.5 1.77
1985 56,554,000 750,520 670,656 79,864 13.3 11.9 1.4 1.79
1986 56,683,000 754,805 660,735 94,070 13.3 11.7 1.7 1.78
1987 56,804,000 775,405 644,342 131,063 13.7 11.3 2.3 1.81
1988 56,916,000 787,303 649,178 138,125 13.8 11.4 2.4 1.82
1989 57,076,000 777,036 657,733 119,303 13.6 11.5 2.1 1.79
1990 57,237,500 798,364 641,799 156,565 13.9 11.2 2.7 1.83
1991 57,438,700 792,269 646,181 146,088 13.8 11.3 2.5 1.82
1992 57,584,500 780,779 634,238 146,541 13.6 11.0 2.5 1.79
1993 57,713,900 761,526 658,194 103,332 13.2 11.4 1.8 1.76
1994 57,862,100 750,480 626,222 124,258 13.0 10.8 2.1 1.74
1995 58,024,800 731,882 641,712 90,170 12.6 11.1 1.6 1.71
1996 58,164,400 733,163 638,879 94,284 12.6 11.0 1.6 1.73
1997 58,314,200 726,622 632,517 94,105 12.5 10.8 1.6 1.72
1998 58,474,900 716,888 627,592 89,296 12.3 10.7 1.5 1.71
1999 58,684,400 699,976 629,476 70,500 11.9 10.7 1.2 1.68
2000 58,886,100 679,029 610,579 68,450 11.5 10.4 1.2 1.64
2001 59,113,000 669,123 604,393 64,730 11.3 10.2 1.1 1.63
2002 59,365,700 668,777 608,045 60,732 11.3 10.2 1.0 1.63
2003 59,636,700 695,549 612,085 83,464 11.7 10.3 1.4 1.70
2004 59,950,400 715,996 584,791 131,205 11.9 9.8 2.2 1.77
2005 60,413,300 722,549 582,964 139,585 12.0 9.6 2.3 1.76
2006 60,827,100 748,563 572,224 176,339 12.3 9.4 2.9 1.82
2007 61,319,100 772,245 574,687 197,558 12.6 9.4 3.2 1.87
2008 61,823,800 794,383 579,697 214,686 12.8 9.4 3.5 1.96
2009 62,260,500 790,204 559,617 230,587 12.7 9.0 3.7 1.89
2010 62,759,500 807,721 561,666 246,055 12.9 8.9 3.9 1.92
2011 63,285,100 807,776 552,232 255,544 12.8 8.7 4.0 1.91
2012 63,705,000 812,970 569,024 243,946 12.8 8.9 3.8 1.92
2013 64,105,700 778,803 575,458 203,345 12.1 9.0 3.2 1.83
2014 64,596,800 776,352 570,341 206,011 12.0 8.8 3.2 1.82
2015 65,110,000 777,165 602,782 174,383 11.9 9.3 2.7 1.80
2016 65,648,100 774,835 595,659 179,176 11.8 9.1 2.7 1.79
2017 66,040,200 755,066 607,172 147,894 11.4 9.2 2.2 1.74
2018 66,435,600 731,213 616,014 115,199 11.0 9.3 1.7 1.68
2019 66,796,800 712,699 604,707 107,992 10.7 9.1 1.6 1.63
2020 67,081,234 683,181 688,086 -4,905 10.2 10.3 -0.1 1.56[42]
2021 693,853 666,491 27,362 10.3 9.9 0.4 1.61

Current vital statistics

Vital statistics for 2020 – 2021
Period Live births[43][44][45] Deaths[46][44][47] Natural increase
January – March 2020 168,435 170,081 -1,646
January – March 2021 163,479 202,702 -39,223
Difference Decrease -4,956 (−2.94%) Negative increase +32,621 (+19.18%) Decrease -37,577

Fertility

Total fertility rate of the United Kingdom from 1541 to 2019
Total fertility rate of the United Kingdom from 1541 to 2019

Since 1838, it has been compulsory to register a birth or death in United Kingdom.[48]

First official data on the fertility rate of the country was first made available in 1938,[48] However estimates of the total fertility rate can be made back all the way till 1541.[38]

The fertility rate of the country before the 19th century maintained itself at an average of around 5 children per woman. This fertility rate within the United Kingdom has been falling since 1870, when the country began into transition into the 3rd stage of the demographic transition.[49][48][24][50][51] This transition represents the change in childbearing from how many children a mother 'needs' to more of how many she 'wants' and a substitution of quality over quantity of the number of children produced.[52][53] From the 1880s onwards, the birth rate began to decline rapidly from the levels it had previous sustained itself at.[53] In England this crude birth rate decline represented a 44% decrease over a period from 1875 to 1920.[53]

A number of factors have been argued to have contributed to this ranging from four broad spectrums of biological, technological changes and developments in the society, socio-economic reasons and cultural considerations.[50] For example, in the context of the Industrial Revolution, a large number of socio-economic developments occurred; large scale urbanisation of the population caused mass internal movements of people to high density population centres, income per capita of citizens rose significantly especially in the last half of the 19th century, coupled with large scale economic growth improved the livelihoods of the working and middle classes of the United Kingdom, this growth in the standard of living led also to the collapse of mortality rates, which had been in decline since the early 18th century and more especially the infant mortality.[51][53][50] This development came about with the decline of child labour at the same time as well which meant there was less of a need for a quantity of children to uphold the household economically,[51][53][50] educational quality of the country rose during the same time period which meant that children held more a economical potential through educated labour means.[50] Additionally, the decline and equalling out of the gender gap in terms of place in the workforce meant that women were beginning in the 19th century to become a larger part of the workforce which also contributed to the birth rate decline.[51][53][50] Improvements in public diets and nutritional quality increase, which is linked to biological factors such as decline in lactation, have also been included as a potential factor in the decline of the fertility rate.[50] Technological developments within the society also began to have an effect; contraceptive use become somewhat usable on a mass scale in the latter half of the 19th century due to technological developments in the production of rubber.[50] Abortion, while illegal during the 19th century, was also used by women, however to what extent at the time is unknown.[50] Cultural considerations such as decline in religious adherence (albeit little data on this matter during the 19th century) have also been considered as reasons.[50] While these factors altogether are debated by demographers as to which were more important then each other, it is generally accepted that due to these factors overall, mothers could begin to invest more time and nurture 'quality' into their offspring rather then having a increased 'quantity' of children that were needed in the past for various such reasons, and that this development led to the decrease of the total fertility rate.[52]

By 1914, the birthrate sat at around 2.88 children per woman, however by 1918 had collapsed proportionally by almost 50%[54] due to World War One and sank to 2.03 children.[55][38] In the post-World War One period, while the birthrate of the country boomed at the very end of the war reaching a peak of 3.08 children in 1920,[55] this began to endure a rapid decline and had slumped to historic lows by the 1930s, for the first time in the country's history falling below a replacement level fertility rate.[48][24] This did not recover in-till the end of the Second World War in 1945.

In the post-World War Two period, the fertility rate of the country boomed once again, bringing itself out of the below replacement level in the 1930s to levels not seen since the late 19th century. This peaked in 1964, with a TFR of 2.95.[56][57] However by 1973, the fertility rate of the country collapsed again below replacement, and has not since in the present day reached a replacement level again.[48] However population issues such as the sub-replacement level fertility rate have often been categorised as something in which the government does not view as a major issue.[24] Little incentives were made and have been made to increase the birth rate throughout the UK's post war period.[24] However Wendy Singe argues that, while compared to other countries, the United Kingdom managed to retain a similarly 'high' (for post-war European standards) fertility rate with a quote; 'liberal market economy and residual approach to welfare, a combination of high female employment and relatively high fertility has been achieved without a coherent or generous set of work-family reconciliation policies.'[24]

Family planning policies were enacted during the 1970s due to concerns of rapid population growth during the 1960s.[24] The 1973 NHS Reorganisation Act is an example of such policies, within this act family planning advice and supplies were first issued to the public.[24] Over this time period, with previous liberalising acts such as the Abortion Act and the Divorce Reform Act, and scientific developments such as increased access to contraceptive methods to reduce pregnancies, such as the contraceptive pill, it is generally ascribed that these social changes were the major contributors to the decline of the fertility rate below replacement level in the latter half of the 20th century.[24] With these changes also, pre-martial conceptions fell to 1950 levels by the late 1970s.[24] This pattern of decline of the birth rate is similar to other European countries.[24]

The government's position was further presented and then re-iterated in 1984 at the UN Conference on Population in Mexico;

The United Kingdom('s) government does not pursue a population policy in the sense of actively trying to influence the overall size of the population, its age-structure, or the components of change except in the field of immigration. Nor has it expressed a view about the size of population, or the age-structure, that would be desirable. ...The current level of births has not been the cause of general anxiety. The prevailing view is that decisions about fertility and childbearing are for people themselves to make, but that it is proper for government to provide individuals with the information and the means necessary to make their decisions effective. To this end, the government provides assistance with family planning as part of the National Health Service. The ‘ageing’ of the population does raise social and economic issues. However, it is believed that these will prove manageable; and also, to a degree, that society will adapt....’[24]

In 2003, Right to Request was setup which allowed the parents of small children to request flexible working times which included shorter working hours for parents to care for their children.[24] However, although a majority of requests for Right to Request are accepted, a report in 2006 found that its impact was negligible as mothers tended to switch employers to get reduced hours regardless.[24]

Due to migration beginning in the late 90s and especially during the 2000s lead to the overall total fertility rate of the country to rise by 0.1 in the period of 2004 to 2011.[24]

In 2012, the UK's total fertility rate (TFR) was 1.92 children per woman,[58] below the replacement rate, which in the UK is 2.075.[59] In 2001, the TFR was at a record low of 1.63, but it then increased every year until it reached a peak of 1.96 in 2008, before decreasing again.[58] In 2012 and 2013, England and Wales's TFR decreased to 1.85.[58][60] In Scotland however TFR is lower: it decreased from 1.75 in 2010 to 1.67 in 2012.[58] Northern Ireland has the highest TFR in the UK, standing at 2.02 in 2010 and 2.03 in 2012.[58]

TFR from 1552 to 1899
Total fertility rate Years[38]
1552 1556 1560 1565 1570 1575 1580 1590 1595 1600 1605 1610 1615 1620 1625 1630 1640 1650
5.12 4.78 4.7 5.31 4.64 4.48 4.62 4.25 4.47 4.63 4.79 4.47 4.51 4.78 4.35 4.45 4.71 3.49
1660 1665 1670 1675 1680 1690 1695 1700 1705 1710 1715 1720 1725 1730 1735 1740 1750 1755
3.83 4.1 3.97 3.75 3.97 4.29 4.37 4.39 4.37 3.79 4.25 4.16 4.51 4.28 4.94 4.58 4.73 4.64
1760 1765 1770 1775 1780 1785 1790 1795 1797 1799 1800 1801 1802 1803 1804 1805 1806 1807
4.56 4.81 4.98 4.96 4.9 5.09 5.35 5.21 5.4 5.11 4.97 4.6 5.3 5.61 5.65 5.55 5.49 5.45
1808 1809 1810 1811 1812 1813 1814 1815 1816 1817 1818 1819 1820 1821 1822 1823 1824 1825
5.4 5.24 5.36 5.43 5.31 5.45 5.46 6.02 5.73 5.69 5.54 5.45 5.4 5.55 5.69 5.54 5.42 5.38
1826 1827 1828 1829 1830 1831 1832 1833 1834 1835 1836 1837 1838 1839 1840 1841 1842 1843
5.36 5.07 5.23 4.85 4.83 4.78 4.78 5 4.89 4.83 4.86 4.79 4.78 4.93 4.9 4.89 4.83 4.82
1844 1845 1846 1847 1848 1849 1850 1851 1852 1853 1854 1855 1856 1857 1858 1859 1860 1861
4.83 4.75 4.9 4.58 4.71 4.78 4.85 4.94 4.94 4.78 4.89 4.85 4.94 4.9 4.79 4.97 4.86 4.88
1862 1863 1864 1865 1866 1867 1868 1869 1870 1871 1872 1873 1874 1875 1876 1877 1878 1879
4.92 4.94 4.96 4.94 4.92 4.94 4.97 4.82 4.88 4.85 4.89 4.94 4.93 4.92 4.9 4.89 4.88 4.81
1880 1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889 1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897
4.75 4.68 4.62 4.55 4.47 4.39 4.32 4.24 4.16 4.11 4.06 4 3.95 3.9 3.84 3.79 3.73 3.68
1898 1899
3.62 3.58

Mother's mean age at first birth

The first available data on when a mother gives birth for the first time was in 1920.[48]

The reduction of the total fertility rate of the United Kingdom has also had a effect on the mean age in which a mother gives birth to her first child.[56]

The age in which a mother gives birth to her first child has changed depending on the time period, but more recently in the 20th and 21st century the age in which someone gives birth has been trending upwards since the 1970s.[56]

Mean age of childbearing shown in intervals of 5 years[48][56]
Year Mean age of childbearing
1920 25.6
1941 23.8
1959 25.7
1960 27.8
1965 27.1
1970 26.3
1975 26.5
1980 26.9
1985 27.3
1990 27.7
2018 29

Family size

The reduction of the fertility rate has also had an effect on the general family size of mothers in the United Kingdom, with the two being interlinked with each other.[56] The family size of the average UK family can be estimated with a completed family size (CFS), which is an estimate of the amount of children a woman has birthed by the end of her childbearing years.[48]

Family size within the UK has shifted more towards two or one children in recent decades, rather then in the past when larger family sizes were more prominent and sort after.[56] This pattern follows with other European countries, where couples have less children.[56] Increasingly as well, there are more couples who are completely childless, which has been increasing since the 1950s.[56][61]

Family size distribution[48][56]
Family size distribution Years
1920 1925 1930 1935 1940 1945 1950 1955 1960
0 21 17 13 12 11 10 14 17 21
1 21 22 18 15 13 13 12 12 12
2 27 28 30 32 37 43 43 40 35
3 16 17 19 21 22 21 20 20 21
4 or more 15 16 20 20 17 13 11 11 11
Average family size (Completed family size of all women) 2 2.12 2.35 2.42 2.36 2.17 2.03 2.02 1.95
Historical development of life expectancy
Historical development of life expectancy

Life expectancy

Life expectancy has increased in the United Kingdom since the 18th century due to the Industrial Revolution and then the Second Industrial Revolution which has vastly increased quality of life of the country's citizens.

At the start of the 20th century, the life expectancy sat at 45.6 years at birth.[62]

By the middle of the 20th century in 1950, the life expectancy rose to 68.6 years at birth.[62] During the latter half of the century, further factors influenced the increase of life expectancy; diseases and the improvement of healthcare in the 1950s, decline in smoking in the mid-1970s and improvements in treating heart disease in the 1990s contributed to its decline.[63]

At the start of the 21st century, the life expectancy sat at 77.8 years at birth.[62]

In 2011 the life expectancy of the country was at around 80.4 years at birth,[62] but the momentum of life expectancy improvements has been stalling.[63][64][65] Potential factors behind this may be austerity measures imposed in the beginning of the 2010s,[65][66] which coincidentally since then mortality rates have slowed down in decline[67] or older people dying off at faster rates then expected.[67] On the topic of austerity measures, Professor Richard Faragher has said that while; "It is possible to have high or rising life expectancy during austerity, as is the case in Japan. Similarly, you can have rising life expectancy despite high levels of inequality – this was the case in Britain from 1900-1950."[67] noted that austerity measures to services such as social care support for the elderly may have been exacerbating the problem of life expectancy.[65][67]

Life expectancy from 1543 to 2015
Life expectancy Years[68][62]
1543 1548 1553 1558 1563 1568 1573 1578 1583 1588 1593 1603 1608 1613 1618 1623 1628 1633
33.9 38.8 39.6 22.4 36.7 39.7 41.1 41.6 42.7 37.1 38.1 38.5 39.6 36.8 40.3 33.4 39.7 39.7
1638 1643 1648 1653 1658 1663 1668 1673 1678 1683 1688 1693 1698 1703 1713 1718 1723 1728
34.0 36.3 39.7 39.1 33.0 33.3 33.5 37.4 32.4 31.3 35.9 36.5 38.1 38.5 36.9 35.8 35.5 25.3
1733 1738 1743 1748 1753 1758 1763 1768 1773 1778 1783 1788 1793 1798 1803 1808 1813 1818
36.3 35.3 34.3 36.5 39.8 38.1 35.4 36.2 39.1 37.7 35.8 39.0 37.9 38.9 40.0 40.6 41.3 40.8
1823 1828 1833 1838 1842 1843 1844 1845 1846 1847 1848 1849 1850 1851 1852 1853 1854 1855
40.5 41.4 40.9 40.6 41.0 41.6 41.2 42.2 40.2 38.5 39.9 37.7 42.8 41.0 40.4 40.0 39.5 40.7
1856 1857 1858 1859 1860 1861 1862 1863 1864 1865 1866 1867 1868 1869 1870 1871 1872 1873
42.5 40.9 39.5 40.4 41.9 41.6 42.1 40.4 39.6 39.8 40.1 42.0 41.7 41.3 40.6 41.1 42.7 43.3
1874 1875 1876 1877 1878 1879 1880 1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889 1890 1891
42.1 41.5 42.7 43.7 42.0 43.5 43.0 45.1 44.0 44.0 43.6 44.6 44.6 45.1 46.3 45.9 44.1 44.4
1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909
45.6 44.7 48.3 45.4 47.1 46.4 46.1 45.2 45.6 46.9 48.3 49.5 48.1 49.9 49.6 50.6 51.0 51.7
1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927
53.3 51.2 54.3 53.4 53.2 51.2 54.2 54.2 47.3 54.3 57.3 58.1 57.0 59.3 58.1 58.4 59.6 59.0
1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945
59.9 57.6 60.8 60.0 60.5 60.6 61.3 62.0 61.8 62.3 63.2 63.6 60.9 61.4 64.0 64.0 64.8 65.8
1946 1947 1948 1949 1950
66.3 66.3 68.4 68.1 68.6
1950–55 1955–60 1960–65 1965–70 1970–75 1975–80
69.4 70.6 71.0 71.7 72.3 73.0
1980–85 1985–90 1990–95 1995–2000 2000–2005 2005–2010
74.2 75.1 76.3 77.2 78.4 79.7
2010–15
81.0
Infant mortality trends since 1960
Infant mortality trends since 1960

Infant mortality

Infant mortality has been on the decline since the Second Industrial Revolution, although the majority of the decline came around from the start to the end of the 20th century.[69][70][71][72] In raw terms for example, infant mortality in England sat around 151 deaths to 1000 live births in 1901 but by the end of the century it had plummeted down to only 6 deaths per 1000 births.[70]

There are two general lines of thought which are usually taken from into analysing the decline of infant mortality rates, the first line of thought comes from social historians, who ascribe the decline of infant mortality to social phenomenons of the time such as the need for a healthy population for the sake of the nation's fighting capabilities and political issues surrounding women.[69] The second line of thought comes from demographers themselves which more or less ascribe the decline of infant mortality itself more to the general decline of mortality altogether in the society then any particular reason why.[69]

Physical unfitness during the Boer War came into national prominence as many recruits came back to be too medically unfit for service.[72][71] With this, In 1904, the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Physical Deterioration was published[73][71][72] which listed large amounts of details of the failings of the British population, and for that matter government, in sustaining a healthy population.

The current rate of infant mortality in the United Kingdom is roughly around 3.82 deaths per 1,000 live births.[39]

Age structure

Population pyramid of the United Kingdom from 1950 to 2020
Population pyramid of the United Kingdom from 1950 to 2020

Interlinked with fertility and mortality, The age structure of the United Kingdom has varied with how said variables have changed through out the country's history. Due to becoming an industrialised society through its history, the United Kingdom has undergone the 'demographic transition', that is to say, that it has gone from a high birth rate, high mortality rate society to a low birth rate, low mortality rate society under the space of two centuries, a unique phenomenon in the modern era.

Before the 18th century, the United Kingdom retained an age structure universal to societies under the 1st stage of the transition theory due to high fertility rates and high mortality rates,[4] in the late 18th century, the Industrial Revolution began, kickstarting the country's transition into the second phase with mortality rates declining but the birth rate staying at the same level it was beforehand,[4] by 1870, the country began to transition into the 3rd phase of the demographic transition,[4] when the birth rate began to decline from around near 5 children per woman to below replacement level in the 1930s.[4] The 4th phase of the transition then began to occur during the 1960s, when the fertility rate once again peaked during the mid of the decade, and then collapsed by 1973 to a below replacement level rate. This below replacement level rate has since then not risen to an above replacement level fertility rate and has therefore due to this has given way to a population which is currently ageing.[4] This gave way in importantly in 2007, for the first time in the country's history, there was more people over the age of 60 then there were under the age of 16.[74]

Peaks and bands within the population represent different periods in which people were born, for example, a large peak of people in particularly for those aged 70–74 born following the Second World War and a wide band for those aged 50–59, born during the 1960s baby boom. Those aged 80' upwards would have been born in the 1930s baby dearth when the birth rate was below replacement level. On the younger band of the population there is a noticeable gap between the ages of 14 to 20, this due to at the beginning of the 21st century a lower number of children being born (and a subsequent lower TFR), however in the years following the birth rate rose during the 2010s and a 'broadening' of the pyramid began for those in the younger years leading to more children in those age cohorts. In relation to the sex ratio of the country, in the higher ages of the population, there are more women then men reflecting the higher life expectancies of women in the population, in the lower ages there are more men then women due to the fact there are slightly more boys then girls born each year.[75][76] In relation to the older age brackets, In 2015, there were estimated to be over half a million people (556,270) aged 90 and over living in the UK, up from 194,670 people in 1985,[77] and there were estimated to be 14,570 centenarians (people aged 100 or over) and 850 people aged 105 or over.[78] The Office of National Statistics has also wrote in their mid-2016 report on population projections that the median age of the British population was 40 years of age,[79] and this will continue to rise as more people in the population age and a below-replacement level fertility level not refilling the population. This will make the number of people aged 85 and over double from 1.6 million in mid-2016 to 3.2 million in mid-2041.[80]

The demographic ageing of the population is also not equally spread out, as people in rural areas are typically of a higher age then those living in metropolitan areas such as Greater London for example.[74]

Age structure of the population in 2020

  0 – 14 years (17.63%)
  15 – 24 years (11.49%)
  25 – 54 years (39.67%)
  55 – 64 years (12.73%)
  65+ years (18.48%)

Dependency ratios

Dependency ratios[39] 2020
Potential support ratio 3.4
Youth dependency ratio 27.8
Elderly dependency ratio 29.3
Total dependency ratio 57.1
Age structures 1976–2019[81][82]
Ages 1976 1986 1999 2016 2019
0–15 years (%) 24.5 20.5 20.4 18.9 19.0
16–64 years (%) 61.2 64.1 63.8 63.1 62.5
65 years and over (%) 14.2 15.4 15.8 18.0 18.5
Ages 2020[39]
Number %
Male Female
0–14 years 5,943,435 5,651,780 17.63%
15–24 years 3,860,435 3,692,398 11.49%
25–54 years 13,339,965 12,747,598 39.67%
55–64 years 4,139,378 4,234,701 12.73%
65 years and over 5,470,116 6,681,311 18.48%
Median age overtime from 1950 to 2100
Median age overtime from 1950 to 2100
Map of population density in the UK as at the 2011 census.
Map of population density in the UK as at the 2011 census.
Median age of the population[39][83]
Median age 1950 1960 1971 1981 1991 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 2060 2070 2080 2090 2100
Total 34.9 years 35.6 years 34.1 years 34.5 years 35.8 years 37.6 years 39.6 years 40.6 years 42.4 years 43.8 years 43.9 years 44.7 years 45.5 years 46 years 46.7 years 47.7 years
Male 39.6 years
Female 41.7 years

Sex ratio

Sex ratio 2022[39]
at birth 1.05 male(s)/female
0–14 years 1.05 male(s)/female
15–24 years 1.01 male(s)/female
25–54 years 1.03 male(s)/female
55–64 years 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over 0.73 male(s)/female
Total population 0.99 male(s)/female

Urbanisation and population density

Population density

The United Kingdom is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, in 2020 it was the 8th most densely populated country.[84]

The current largest metropolitan areas are listen below:

 
Largest urban areas of the United Kingdom
(England and Wales: 2011 census built-up area;[85] Scotland: 2016 estimates settlement;[86] Northern Ireland: 2001 census urban area)[87][88]
Rank Urban area Pop. Principal settlement Rank Urban area Pop. Principal settlement
1 London 9,787,426 London 11 Bristol Urban Area 617,280 Bristol
2 West Midlands 2,919,600 Birmingham 12 Edinburgh Urban Area 512,150 Edinburgh
3 Manchester 2,553,379 Manchester 13 Leicester Urban Area 508,916 Leicester
4 Yorkshire 1,777,934 Leeds 14 Belfast Urban Area 483,418 Belfast
5 Glasgow 985,290 Glasgow 15 Brighton and Hove built-up area 474,485 Brighton
6 Liverpool 864,122 Liverpool 16 South East Dorset conurbation 466,266 Bournemouth
7 South Hampshire 855,569 Southampton 17 Cardiff Urban Area 390,214 Cardiff
8 Tyneside 774,891 Newcastle 18 Teesside 376,633 Middlesbrough
9 Nottingham 729,977 Nottingham 19 The Potteries Urban Area 372,775 Stoke-on-Trent
10 Sheffield 685,368 Sheffield 20 Coventry and Bedworth Urban Area 359,262 Coventry

Urbanisation

Rapid urbanisation began with the onset of the Industrial Revolution in the mid to late 18th century, shifting jobs and more importantly people away from rural Britain's dominance at the time which was primarily agricultural, to manufacturing jobs within urban areas which started to spring up.[89] In 1750, an estimated total of around only 1 million people lived in some sort of urban area such as a town or city,[90] which was around 1/6th of the estimated total population but a century later this had risen to 8 million people in 1850,[90] which became just over half of the nation in the middle of the 19th century.[89][90]

While this mass urbanisation affected pre-existing cities to a large degree such as London, smaller and 'newer' towns were in particular effected by the re-distribution of the population and exploded such less populated urban areas.[89] Cities such as Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle for example had a explosive expansion in population numbers around the middle of the 19th century due to the industrial expansion of said cities bringing jobs and again people in for work.[91][90] London during the 19th century become noted as the 'premier city' of the world, being the most populated city from 1825 to 1900[92] and being the first city in Europe and one of the first in the world to reach the figure of one million inhabitants,[93] and then 5 million inhabitants.[92] This urbanisation in the 19th century has had two phases. David Herbert describes the process of the late 19th century and then early 20th century as a "maker and breaker" of the cities in the United Kingdom.[89] This mass influx of the population into the cities resulted in a centralisation of the population into the inner city areas however by the time of the late 19th century and early 20th century when technological advancements in transport kicked off allowing cities to expand their 'peripherals' from the inner areas to create large scale 'city regions' of their own.[89] London in particular, is a great example of this in effect, during the 19th century, the majority of people within the city lived in the inner part, however by the 20th century a massive expansion of 'Outer London' began which slowly became larger in population size by the middle of the century then Inner London.

By the end of the 20th century this figure was 80% of the country.[89] However importance of the capital declined, by the end of the 20th century, London's ranking on the most populated cities of the world had fell down to not even being in the top 20.[93]

The current classification of a 'urban' area, also termed as a 'built-up area' (BUA)[94] as of the 2011 census is a settlement which takes variables from both numerical population numbers and population density, in population numbers this is roughly more than or 10,000 people living in a area.[95][96] Anything below that is classified as 'rural', having several levels of distinction to define a rural town and fringe, village or hamlet which is usually taken from population density figures.[96] These areas are then defined within 'output areas' (OA's) themselves. which are geographic areas of the United Kingdom.[96][94] Currently, the population which resides within classified 'urban' areas is 84.4% of total population as of 2022 and the rate of urbanisation change is estimated to be around 0.8% annual rate of change over 2020–25.[39]

Social issues

Marriage, divorce, families and household types

Marriage and divorce

Marriage status of England and Wales in 2020
Marriage status of England and Wales in 2020

In 2004, 58% of births were conceived within a married couple, 35% by non-married couples registered by both parents and 7% by non-married mothers who registered the birth alone.[48]

This varied from each constituent nation, Wales for example had the highest births outside of marriage at 51% in 2004, In England this percentage was 42% and in Scotland 47%. Northern Ireland had the lowest of 35% in 2004.[48]

Household and family type

Sexual orientation

Main article: Demographics of sexual orientation § United Kingdom

Sexual identification overtime from 2014 to 2020
Sexual identification overtime from 2014 to 2020

The Integrated Household Survey,[97] published by the Office for National Statistics, provides the following estimates for the adult British population as of 2011:

Other sources provide alternative estimates of the population by sexual orientation. For example, one British journal published in 2004 estimated that approximately 5% of the British population is gay.[98] A government figure estimated in 2005 that there are 3.6 million gay people in Britain equating to 6 per cent of the population,[99] though a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission[100] described that estimate as 'of questionable validity' when set against available survey estimates.

The Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES) estimated in 2009 that "56,000 might potentially be transsexual people", noting that it is very difficult to make a reliable estimate which would have been 0.09% of the population at the time of the report.[101]

Out of the 600,000 people in the UK that applied to go to university through UCAS in 2020, 7.2%, or 40,000, described themselves as LGBT on their application form. UCAS estimates this to be a rate 2.5 times higher than the overall UK population. The UCAS report in collaboration with Stonewall also found LGBT students were more likely to come from disadvantaged backgrounds (compared to those who identified as heterosexual or didn't specify), have a disability (compared to non-LGBT students) and have a mental health condition (compared to non-LGBT students).[102]

Abortion

Main article: Abortion in the United Kingdom

Percentage of conceptions leading to an abortion overtime from 1969 to 2020
Percentage of conceptions leading to an abortion overtime from 1969 to 2020

Abortion in the United Kingdom (however not Northern Ireland) was officially legalised in 1967 under the Abortion Act of that year, allowing women for the first time to get an abortion under numerous medical grounds outlined within the act. Previously, this was outlawed under the Offences against the Person Act of 1861 and then the updated Infant Life (Preservation) Act of 1929 which only permitted an abortion if the death of a child was "done in good faith for the purpose only of preserving the life of the mother".

In 2020, the amount of conceptions which led to an abortion was around 25.3%[103]

Conceptions leading to an abortion from 1969 to 2020[104]
Year 1969 1971 1976 1981 1986 1991 1996 2001 2006 2011 2016 2020
Percentage of conceptions leading to an abortion 5.98% 11.32% 15.17% 17.09% 18.02% 19.6% 20.55% 23% 22.26% 20.88% 21.5% 25.29%

Health

Main article: Health in the United Kingdom

Death rate and cause

Health issues

Employment and income

Main article: Economy of the United Kingdom

The unemployment rate for the youth age bracket of 15 – 24 is currently 11.2% as of 2019, this is 13% for males and 9.2% for females.[105]

Migration

Main articles: Foreign-born population of the United Kingdom and Modern immigration to the United Kingdom

Historical and present net numbers

Migration to the United Kingdom from 1970 to 2015
Migration to the United Kingdom from 1970 to 2015

Net migration to the United Kingdom has been in fluctuation throughout its history.

Through the 1970s and 1980s, migration to the United Kingdom was often a net negative in terms of numbers, with more people leaving the country, then entering in total.

Since 1994, net migration in numbers has been in the positives, with more people entering the country, rather then leaving.[24]

Country of birth

Rank Country of birth Population[106]
1  India 863,000
2  Poland 818,000
3  Pakistan 547,000
4  Romania 427,000
5  Ireland 360,000
6  Germany 289,000
7  Bangladesh 260,000
8  South Africa 252,000
9  Italy 233,000
10  China 217,000
11  Nigeria 215,000
12  France 185,000
13  Lithuania 168,000
14  Portugal 165,000
15  United States 161,000
16  Spain 159,000
17  Australia 153,000
18  Philippines 153,000
19  Zimbabwe 128,000
20  Bulgaria 128,000
21  Sri Lanka 126,000
22  Jamaica 123,000
23  Kenya 121,000
24  Ghana 114,000
25  Brazil 101,000
26  Somalia 99,000
27  Hungary 98,000
28  Canada 95,000
29  Latvia 89,000
30  Afghanistan 79,000
31    Nepal 76,000
32  Iran 72,000
33  Slovakia 72,000
34  Turkey 71,000
35  Netherlands 68,000
36  Iraq 67,000
37  New Zealand 67,000
38  Greece 66,000
39  Malaysia 61,000
40  Russia 59,000
41  Cyprus 57,000
42  Thailand 54,000
43  Uganda 52,000
44  Taiwan 49,000
45  Syria 48,000
46  Albania 47,000
47  Singapore 44,000
48  Czech Republic 44,000
49  Sweden 42,000
50  Egypt 39,000
51  Japan 39,000
52  Ukraine 38,000
53  Colombia 38,000
54  Belgium 35,000
55  Mauritius 34,000
56  Saudi Arabia 33,000
57  Sudan 33,000
58  Kosovo 29,000
59  Zambia 29,000
60  Malta 27,000
61  Vietnam 27,000

In the 1980s to 1990s, around 12 to 13% of births were born to foreign born mothers. In 2004, this had risen to 20% of births being born to foreign born mothers.[48]

Foreign born population of England and Wales over time
Foreign born population of England and Wales over time

Below is the number of births in England and Wales in 2011 by mother's country of birth, as well as their total fertility rate.[107] In 2014, 27% of births were to mothers born outside the UK, a 0.5-point increase since 2013. The 2014 fertility rate was higher for foreign-born mothers (2.09) than British-born mothers (1.76). In the 2010–14 time period, the most common countries of birth for mothers (excluding the UK) were Poland, Pakistan and India; and Poland and India for fathers. Within the UK, Newham, London had the highest rate of births to non-UK mothers (76.7%) and Torfaen, Wales the lowest (3.2%).[108] The fertility rate among non-UK born women was 1.98 and among UK born women 1.50 in 2020.

Mother's country of birth Births TFR
 Afghanistan 2,775 4.25
 Somalia 5,654 4.19
 Iraq 2,412 3.91
 Pakistan 18,434 3.82
 Nigeria 7,476 3.32
 Bangladesh 8,371 3.25
 Ghana 3,328 3.24
 Romania 3,497 2.93
 Sri Lanka 3,431 2.62
 India 14,892 2.35
 Lithuania 3,788 2.29
 Poland 20,495 2.13
 United Kingdom 539,364 1.84
 United States 3,317 1.83
 Zimbabwe 2,837 1.83
 South Africa 4,430 1.79
 China 3,611 1.76
 Germany 5,108 1.74
 Philippines 2,870 1.66
 Ireland 2,941 1.56
 France 2,538 1.41
Others 62,344 -
Total 723,913 1.9
Country of birth Year
1971[109][110] 1981[111][112] 1991[113]
Number % Number % Number %
Europe 52,325,821 96.71% 52,939,273 96.13% 53,960,525 95.57%
Flag of the United Kingdom (3-5).svg
United Kingdom
51,016,100 94.29% 51,706,978 93.89% 52,659,965 93.27%
Flag of Ireland.svg
Republic of Ireland
693,435 1.28% 607,428 1.10% 627,930 1.11%
Other EEC/EU 497,985 0.88%
Other Europe 616,286 1.13% 624,867 1.13% 174,645 0.30%
Asia 547,340 1.01% 765,383 1.38% 925,725 1.63%
Flag of India.svg
Republic of India
313,630 0.57% 391,874 0.71% 410,008 0.72%
Flag of Pakistan.svg
Republic of Pakistan
137,112 0.25% 188,198 0.34% 234,312 0.41%
Flag of Bangladesh.svg
Republic of Bangladesh
48,517 105,066 0.18%
Flag of the People
China
23,998
Other Asia 96,598 0.17% 136,794 0.24% 152,341 0.26%
Africa 155,738 0.28% 290,453 0.52% 332,195 0.58%
East Africa 221,170 0.39%
Other Africa 111,025 0.2%
Caribbean and Americas 296,347 0.54% 295,179 0.53% 264,781 0.46%
Old Commonwealth 136,148 0.25% 152,747 0.27% 180,828 0.32%
Other (New Commonwealth) 114,521 0.21% 162,358 0.29% 194,647 0.34%
Other: Total[114] 526,587 0.97% 461,410 0.83% 600,065 1.06%
Total: 54,102,502 100% 55,066,803 100% 56,458,766 100%
TFR by country of birth[115][116]
Country of birth Year
1971 1979 1981 1983 1985 1987 1989 1991 1993 1995 1997 2001
Flag of the United Kingdom (3-5).svg
United Kingdom
2.30 1.70 1.70 1.70 1.80 1.80 1.80 1.70 1.70 1.65 1.6
New Commonwealth 4.00 3.50 2.90 2.80 2.90 2.80 2.70 2.90 2.80 2.96 3.09 2.8
Flag of India.svg
India
4.30 3.90 3.10 2.80 2.90 2.70 2.40 2.60 2.20 2.19 2.32 2.3
Pakistan, Bangladesh 9.30 7.10 6.50 6.10 5.60 5.20 4.70 5.00 5.10 5.20
Flag of Pakistan.svg
Pakistan
4.8 5.30 4.7
Flag of Bangladesh.svg
Bangladesh
3.9 4.83 3.9
East Africa 2.7 2.1 2 2.1 1 1.9 2 1.7 1.8 1.76 1.6
Other Africa 4.2 3.4 3.1 3 3.2 4.2 3.1 3.1 3.58 3.52 2.0
West Indies 3.4 2.5 2 1.8 1.8 1.9 1.6 1.9 1.8 2.33 2.57
Mediterranean 2.1 2.1 2.2 2 1.9 2.1 1.7 1.89 1.8
Hong Kong, Far East 2.70 1.7 1.9 2 1.8 1.7 1.8 1.6 1.6 1.39
Other New Commonwealth 2.3 2.4 2.3 2.5 2.4 2.2 2 2.63 2.94 2.2
Rest of the World 2.00 1.90 2.00 1.90 1.90 1.90 1.90 2.04 2.09 1.8
Total: 2.38 1.84 1.80 1.76 1.78 1.81 1.80 1.82 1.77 1.72 1.73 1.65

(Note: discontinuity in estimates from 1993 to 1996. This increase in total fertility arises from a re-basing of the population estimates for ethnic minorities from the results of the 1991 census. These fertility estimates were not published in 1998–2000 and the only years for which estimates are now published are 1991 and 2001.)

Internal

Population movements of the country have fluctuated over time, in the 19th century with the urbanisation of the country, large amounts of people moved to the capital and the nearby industrial cities, but in recent years there has been a general trend of 'de-urbanisation' as parts of the population have moved back to the countryside. An example of recent large scale internal movement in the 21st century has been the departure of 220,000 White British Londoners to other areas of rural England and Wales over the 2000s[117] and over the 2010s around a total of 550,000 people left the city.[118] Demographically by age, the people leaving the city more then entering tend to be in their 30s and 40s while people entering in their 20s.[118]

Ethnicity and race

Ethnic demographic breakdown

Ethnic demography of the United Kingdom from 1991 to 2011
Ethnic demography of the United Kingdom from 1991 to 2011
White British proportion of the population from 2001 to 2011
White British proportion of the population from 2001 to 2011

For the overwhelming majority of its established history, the United Kingdom has been ethnically homogenous society with few minorities.[119] Such few minorities formed in total numbers over a long period of time and the largest numerical minority which resembled over one million were Irish people.[119]

Following the British Nationality Act of 1948, which transformed the status of all the subjects of the British Empire into classified legal 'British citizens', allowed upwards of millions from Britain's colonies to migrate to the United Kingdom legally.[119] In the following same year, the Empire Windrush embarked to the United Kingdom which allowed upwards of 800 West Indians marking in popular history the beginning of modern migration to the United Kingdom, despite the fact that little migrants came afterwards until the middle of the 1950s.[119]

Since 1948, the population of the country has gradually become more ethnically heterogenized nationally, while in regionally areas such as metropolitan county's this process has become a rapid occurrence. Data on ethnicity was not formally collected in-till 1991 when the census for the first time asked the ethnicity and race of the British population, however estimates can still be taken on the approximate population of the non-white/ethnic minority population for the previous decades.

From 1997 onwards, ethnic diversity has increased rapidly since the country gained net-positive numbers of net migration in 1992[4] and then in 1997 with the expansion and lifting of restrictions on immigration with the New Labour government.[119]

Ethnic Group Year
1991[120][121][t 1] 2001[122][123][124] 2011[125][126][127][128] 2016 estimates[129]
Number % Number % Number % Number %
White: Total 51,873,794 94.5% 54,153,898 92.12% 55,073,552 87.17% 56,668,000 86.32%
White: British 52,037,485 88.52% 51,736,290 81.88% 52,501,000 79.97%
White: Irish 837,464 1.52% 691,232 1.18% 585,087 0.92%
White: Gypsy / Traveller / Irish Traveller 1,710 63,193 0.10%
White: Other 1,423,471 2.42% 2,690,088 4.25% 4,167,000[t 2] 6.34%
Asian / Asian British: Total 1,834,117 3.34% 2,578,826 4.39% 4,373,339 6.92% 4,722,000 7.19%
Asian / Asian British: Indian 840,255 1.53% 1,053,411 1.79% 1,451,862 2.30%
Asian / Asian British: Pakistani 476,555 0.86% 747,285 1.27% 1,174,983 1.86%
Asian / Asian British: Bangladeshi 162,835 0.29% 283,063 0.48% 451,529 0.71%
Asian / Asian British: Chinese[t 3] 156,938 0.28% 247,403 0.42% 433,150 0.69%
Asian / Asian British: Other Asian 197,534 0.35% 247,664 0.42% 861,815 1.36%
Black / Black British: Total[t 4] 890,727 1.62% 1,148,738 1.95% 1,904,684 3.01% 2,065,000 3.15%
Black / Black British: African 212,362 0.38% 485,277 0.83% 1,020,973 1.61%
Black / Black British: Caribbean 499,964 0.91% 565,876 0.96% 598,197 0.94%
Black / Black British: Other Black 178,401 0.32% 97,585 0.17% 282,336 0.44%
Mixed / British Mixed 677,117 1.15% 1,250,229 1.98% 1,062,000 1.62%
Other: Total 290,206 0.52% 230,615 0.39% 580,374 0.92% 1,131,000 1.72%
Total: 54,888,844 100% 58,789,194 100% 63,182,178 100% 65,648,000 100%

Note:

  1. ^ For 1991, Only data from Great Britain itself has been used, due to Northern Ireland not conducting an question on ethnicity within there. If Northern Ireland population data was added in as substitute, the White population would rise to 94.65% of the population.
  2. ^ Number is an amalgamated amount of all Other White's
  3. ^ In 2001, listed under the "Other ethnic group" heading.
  4. ^ For the purpose of harmonising results to make them comparable across the UK, the ONS includes individuals in Scotland who classified themselves in the "African" category (29,638 people), which in the Scottish version of the census is separate from "Caribbean or Black" (6,540 people),[130] in this "Black or Black British" category. The ONS note that "the African categories used in Scotland could potentially capture White/Asian/Other African in addition to Black identities".[131]
Estimates and census figures of the growth of the ethnic minority population in the United Kingdom[132][fn 2]
Ethnic minority Year
1951* 1961* 1971* 1981* 1986* 1991 1993* 1998* 2000* 2001 2011
Number 50,000 400,000 1,370,000 2,090,000 2,470,000 3,015,050 3,200,000 3,700,000 4,040,000 4,635,296 8,108,626
% 0.1% 0.8% 2.5% 3.9% 4.5% 5.5% 5.7% 6.5% 7.1% 7.88% 12.83%

Age structure of ethnic groups

Ethnicity in live births and total fertility rate

TFR estimates of women by ethnicity in the UK historically[115][133]
Ethnic Group Year
1996 – 2000 2001 – 2005
White British 1.72 1.71
White Other 1.48 1.50
Mixed 1.89 1.53
Indian 1.63 1.64
Pakistani 2.91 2.79
Bangladeshi 3.43 2.97
Other Asian 1.94 1.80
Black Caribbean 1.88 1.94
Black African 2.43 2.32
Other Black 1.87 2.23
Chinese 1.23 1.24
Other 1.94 2.09
Ethnicity of live births in England and Wales
Ethnic Group Year
2007[134] 2009[134] 2011[134] 2013[134] 2015[134] 2017[134] 2019[134] 2020[134]
Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number %
White: Total 484,594 70.32% 510,658 72.35% 536,021 74.49% 511,750 73.3% 507,829 72.29% 482,439 71.07% 452,248 70.67% 431,652 70.38%
White: British 439,880 63.82% 459,492 65.10% 476,328 66.19% 447,164 64.05% 432,114 62.05% 403,543 59.45% 374,056 58.45% 359,519 58.62%
White: Other 44,714 6.48% 51,166 7.24% 59,693 8.29% 64,586 9.25% 75,715 10.87% 78,896 11.62% 78,192 12.22% 72,133 11.76%
Asian / Asian British: Total 66,050 9.58% 71,409 10.11% 76,599 10.64% 77,246 11.06% 76,976 11.05% 76,045 11.20% 73,874 11.54% 74,653 12.17%
Asian / Asian British: Indian 18,106 2.62% 20,258 2.87% 22,725 3.15% 22,673 3.24% 21,582 3.09% 21,157 3.11% 20,627 3.22% 21,435 3.49%
Asian / Asian British: Pakistani 26,108 3.78% 27,637 3.91% 27,948 3.88% 29,099 4.16% 28,142 4.04% 28,135 4.15% 27,573 4.31% 27,397 4.46%
Asian / Asian British: Bangladeshi 9,249 1.34% 9,522 1.34% 9,847 1.36% 10,063 1.44% 9,889 1.42% 10,089 1.48% 9,505 1.49% 9,614 1.56%
Other Asians 12,587 1.82% 13,992 1.98% 16,079 2.23% 15,411 2.2% 17,363 2.49% 16,664 2.45% 16,169 2.52% 16,207 2.64%
Black / Black British: Total 35,461 5.14% 36,620 5.18% 36,151 5.02% 34,782 4.98% 33,461 4.8% 32,565 4.79% 30,846 4.81% 29,882 4.87%
Black: African 22,399 3.25% 24,052 3.4% 24,457 3.39% 23,723 3.39% 23,483 3.37% 22,734 3.34% 21,589 3.37% 21,098 3.44%
Black: Caribbean 7,427 1.07% 7,491 1.06% 6,943 0.96% 6,525 0.93% 5,964 0.85% 5,718 0.84% 5,480 0.86% 5,064 0.82%
Other Blacks 5,635 0.81% 5,077 0.71% 4,751 0.66% 4,534 0.64% 4,014 0.57% 4,113 0.6% 3,777 0.59% 3,720 0.6%
British Mixed 26,254 3.80% 30,125 4.26% 34,643 4.81% 36,046 5.16% 40,433 5.8% 41,381 6.09% 41,918 6.54% 40,751 6.64%
Other: Total 14,375 2.08% 14,809 2.09% 13,320 1.85% 14,497 2.07% 15,625 2.24% 15,646 2.3% 15,523 2.42% 14,293 2.33%
Not Stated 62,386 9.05% 42,190 5.97% 22,848 3.17% 23,809 3.41% 22,041 3.16% 30,652 4.51% 25,578 4.00% 22,000 3.58%
Total: 689,120 100% 705,811 100% 719,582 100% 698,130 100% 696,365 100% 678,728 100% 639,987 100% 613,231 100%
Future ethnic projections based off of Coleman, 2010
Future ethnic projections based off of Coleman, 2010

Future projections

Numerous predictions and projections of the future ethnic demography of the United Kingdom have been made over the years.

Academic David Coleman produced research in 2010 which demonstrated that the city of Birmingham will join London in their majority minority status during the 2020s, with regards to the general demographic decline of the White British in Britain.[135] He also estimates that roughly around 2056 to 2066, the trend of a declining share of the white populace will result in the United Kingdom having an overall white minority.[136][137]

In Prospect, he outlined four projections for a majority-minority scenario within the United Kingdom;[138]

Religion

This chart shows the proportion of British citizens responses with regards to their religion at the 2011 census.
This chart shows the proportion of British citizens responses with regards to their religion at the 2011 census.
Percentage of respondents in the 2011 census in the UK who said they were Christian
Percentage of respondents in the 2011 census in the UK who said they were Christian

Main article: Religion in the United Kingdom

In 2001, the question of religious adherence was asked for the first time since 1851 in the United Kingdom Census.[139]

The traditional religion in the United Kingdom is Christianity. In England the established church is the Church of England (Anglican). In Scotland, the Church of Scotland (a Presbyterian Church) is regarded as the 'national church' but there is not an established church.

In Wales there is no established church, with the Church in Wales having been disestablished in 1920. Likewise, in Ireland, the Church of Ireland was disestablished in 1871. In Northern Ireland and parts of Western Scotland there are lingering sectarian divides between Roman Catholic and Protestant communities.[140]

The table below shows data regarding religion for the 2001 and 2011 censuses:

Religion 2001[141][142][143][144] 2011[145][146][147][148]
Number % Number %
Gold Christian Cross no Red.svg
Christian
42,079,417 71.58% 37,583,962 59.49%
Star and Crescent.svg
Muslim
1,591,126 2.71% 2,786,635 4.41%
Om.svg
Hindu
558,810 0.95% 835,394 1.32%
Khanda.svg
Sikh
336,149 0.57% 432,429 0.68%
Star of David.svg
Jewish
266,740 0.45% 269,568 0.43%
Dharma Wheel.svg
Buddhist
151,816 0.26% 261,584 0.41%
Other religion 178,837 0.30% 262,774 0.42%
No religion 16,221,509 25.67%
Religion not stated 4,528,323 7.17%
(No religion and Religion not stated) 13,626,299 23.18% 20,749,832 32.84%
Total population 58,789,194 100.00% 63,182,178 100.00%

In the 2011 Census, rather than select one of the specified religions offered on the Census form, many people chose to write in their own religion. Some of these religions were reassigned to one of the main religions offered. In England and Wales, 241,000 people belonged to religious groups which did not fall into any of the main religions.[149] The largest of these were Pagans (56,620), Spiritualists (39,061) and Jainists (20,288).[150] Despite its high-profile nature there were only 2,418 Scientologists.[151] The census also recorded 176,632 people stating their religion as Jedi Knight and 6,242 people as Heavy Metal[152] after a campaign by Metal Hammer.[150] These returns were classified as "No religion", along with Atheist, Agnostic, Humanist, and Free Thinker.[152] Those who ticked Heathen who had been categorised as no religion in 2001 were categorised as other.[152] It is unclear how the ONS treated people who ticked "Other" but did not write in any religion.[152]

In 2012 the British Social Attitudes Survey found the highest number to be non-religious (48%) followed by Christians (46%) with another six per cent identifying otherwise. Discrepancies found between surveys may be the result of differences in phrasing, question order, and data collection method.[153]

Future projections

Pew Research Center has found that by 2050 on all scenario's, the Islamic population of the United Kingdom will rise, depending on the scenario the percentage of the population which will be Islamic will either be 9.7% in a zero migration scenario, 16.7% in a medium migration scenario or 17.2% in a high migration scenario.[154]

Languages

Main article: Languages of the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom's de facto official language is English which is spoken as a first language by 95% of the population. Six regional languages—Scots, Ulster-Scots, Welsh, Cornish, Irish and Scottish Gaelic—are protected under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Abilities in these languages (other than Cornish) for those aged three and above were recorded in the census of 2011 as follows.[155][156][157]

Ability Wales Scotland Northern Ireland
Welsh Scottish Gaelic Scots Irish Ulster-Scots
Number % Number % Number % Number % Number %
Understands but does not speak, read or write 157,792 5.15% 23,357 0.46% 267,412 5.22% 70,501 4.06% 92,040 5.30%
Speaks, reads and writes 430,717 14.06% 32,191 0.63% 1,225,622 23.95% 71,996 4.15% 17,228 0.99%
Speaks but does not read or write 80,429 2.63% 18,966 0.37% 179,295 3.50% 24,677 1.42% 10,265 0.59%
Speaks and reads but does not write 45,524 1.49% 6,218 0.12% 132,709 2.59% 7,414 0.43% 7,801 0.45%
Reads but does not speak or write 44,327 1.45% 4,646 0.09% 107,025 2.09% 5,659 0.33% 11,911 0.69%
Other combination of skills 40,692 1.33% 1,678 0.03% 17,381 0.34% 4,651 0.27% 959 0.06%
No skills 2,263,975 73.90% 5,031,167 98.30% 3,188,779 62.30% 1,550,813 89.35% 1,595,507 91.92%
Total 3,063,456 100.00% 5,118,223 100.00% 5,118,223 100.00% 1,735,711 100.00% 1,735,711 100.00%
Can speak 562,016 18.35% 57,602 1.13% 1,541,693 30.12% 104,943 6.05% 35,404 2.04%
Has some ability 799,481 26.10% 87,056 1.70% 1,929,444 37.70% 184,898 10.65% 140,204 8.08%

Cornish is spoken by around 2,500 people. In the 2011 census, 464 respondents aged three and over in Cornwall said that Cornish was their main language, amounting to 0.09% of the total population of Cornwall aged three and over.

After English, Polish was the second most common language given in the United Kingdom census 2011. 618,091 respondents aged three and over said that Polish was their main language, amounting to 1.01% of the total population of the United Kingdom aged three and over.

The French language is spoken in some parts of the Channel Islands although the islands, like the Isle of Man, are not part of the United Kingdom.[158] British Sign Language is also common.

National identity

Respondents to the 2011 UK census gave their national identities as follows.[159][160][161]

National identity Years
2011
United
Kingdom
Country
England Scotland Wales N. Ireland
Flag of England.svg
English only
51.41% 60.38% 2.28% 11.22% 0.60%
Flag of Scotland.svg
Scottish only
5.93% 0.79% 62.43% 0.50% 0.37%
Flag of Wales.svg
Welsh only
3.26% 0.55% 0.15% 57.51% 0.06%
Northern Irish only 0.81% 0.21% 0.33% 0.14% 20.94%
Flag of the United Kingdom (3-5).svg
British only
18.77% 19.19% 8.37% 16.95% 39.89%
Flag of England.svg
+
Flag of the United Kingdom (3-5).svg
English and British only
7.82% 9.09% 1.26% 1.54% 0.27%
Flag of Scotland.svg
+
Flag of the United Kingdom (3-5).svg
Scottish and British only
1.67% 0.15% 18.29% 0.07% 0.09%
Flag of Wales.svg
+
Flag of the United Kingdom (3-5).svg
Welsh and British only
0.44% 0.11% 0.06% 7.11% 0.02%
Northern Irish and British only 0.22% 0.03% 0.15% 0.02% 6.17%
Other combination of UK identities only (excludes Irish) 0.45% 0.37% 1.01% 1.10% 0.13%
Other identity and at least one UK identity 0.97% 0.90% 1.25% 0.43% 3.05%
Irish only 1.31% 0.64% 0.41% 0.32% 25.26%
Other 6.94% 7.59% 4.01% 3.10% 3.12%
Total 100.00% 100.00% 100.00% 100.00% 100.00%

Education

Main articles: Education in England, Education in Northern Ireland, Education in Scotland, and Education in Wales

Qualification of England and Wales in 2011, see description of the file for explanatory notes
Qualification of England and Wales in 2011, see description of the file for explanatory notes
Literacy rates within the United Kingdom
Literacy rates within the United Kingdom

In the present day each country of the United Kingdom has a separate education system, with power over education matters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland being devolved.

Universal state education in England and Wales was introduced for primary level in 1870 and secondary level in 1900.[162] Education is mandatory from the ages of 5 to 18, The majority of children are educated in state-sector schools,[163] only a small proportion of which select on the grounds of academic ability. Despite a fall in actual numbers, the proportion of children in England attending private schools rose slightly from 7.1% to 7.3% between 2004 and 2007.[163]

Scotland first legislated for universal provision of education in 1696. Four percent of children in Scotland attend private schools, a rate which has remained relatively stable since 2015.[164][165]

In Wales, one of the most notable distinctive features of education in Wales is the emphasis on the Welsh language – lessons in which are compulsory for all until the age of 16. Whilst a significant minority of students (15.7% in the 2014\15 academic year) are taught primarily through the medium of Welsh.[166]

See also

Notes and references

Notes

  1. ^ In fertility rates, 2.1 and above is a stable population and has been marked blue, 2 and below leads to an aging population and the result is that the population decreases.
  2. ^ Ethnic minority population has been defined historically in different terms but refers to individuals who are 'non-white'. Starred years are estimates of the total population of ethnic minorities in the country.

References

  1. ^ "UK Population Estimates ( June 2021) – Office of National Statistics". Ond.gov.uk.
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