Useful country information
Land area: 93,278 sq mi (241,590 sq km); total area: 94,526 sq mi (244,820 sq km)
Population (2014 est.): 63,742,977 (growth rate: 0.54%); birth rate: 12.22/1000; infant mortality rate: 4.44/1000; life expectancy: 80.42; density per sq km: 255.6
Capital and largest city (2013 est.): London, 13,614,409 (metro. area), 9,787,426 (city proper)
Other large cities: Birmingham, 2.272 million; Manchester, 2.213 million; West Yorkshire, 1.625 million; Glasgow, 1.137 million; Newcastle upon Tyne, 874,000
Monetary unit: Pound sterling ()
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Languages: English, Welsh, Scots, Scottish Gaelic
Ethnicity/race: White 87.2%, Black/African/Caribbean/ 3%, Asian/Asian British: Indian 2.3%, Asian/Asian British: Pakistani 1.9%, mixed 2%, other 3.7% (2011 est.)
Religions: Christian (includes Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 59.5%, Muslim 4.4%, Hindu 1.3%, other 2%, none 25.7%, unspecified 7.2% (2011 est.)
Literacy rate: 99% (2003 est.)
Once a 'great' nation, at its zenith, the British Empire stretched over one-fourth of the earth's surface.
Now four constituent nations form the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland). Great Britain, the dominant industrial and maritime power of the 19th century, played a leading role in developing parliamentary democracy, in advancing literature, science, and later pop music.
The first half of the 20th century saw the UK's strength critically depleted in two World Wars. 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, a founding member of NATO, and the Commonwealth, the UK pursues a global approach to foreign policy; it currently is weighing the degree of its integration with continental Europe (Brexit).
Still a member of the EU, it chose to remain outside of the European Monetary Union for the time being. Constitutional reform is also a significant issue in the UK. Regional assemblies with varying degrees of power opened in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland in 1999.
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