United Kingdom 1998United%20Kingdom

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United Kingdom
United Kingdom 


United Kingdom - Introduction 1998
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Background: Britain, the dominant industrial and maritime power of the nineteenth century, played a leading role in developing parliamentary democracy and in advancing literature and science. The British Empire covered approximately one-fourth of the earth's surface at its zenith. In the first half of the twentieth century its strength was seriously depleted by two world wars. Since the end of World War II, the British Empire has been dismantled, and Britain has rebuilt itself into a prosperous, modern European nation with significant international political, cultural, and economic influence. As the twentieth century draws to a close, Britain is debating the degree of its integration with continental Europe.

United Kingdom - Geography 1998
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Location: 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

Geographic coordinates: 54 00 N, 2 00 W

Map referenceEurope

Total: 244,820 km²
Land: 241,590 km²
Water: 3,230 km²
Note: includes Rockall and Shetland Islands
Comparative: slightly smaller than Oregon

Land boundaries
Total: 360 km
Border countries: (1) Ireland 360 km

Coastline: 12,429 km

Maritime claims
Continental shelf: as defined in continental shelf orders or in accordance with agreed upon boundaries
Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

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

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

Extremes lowest point: Fenland -4 m
Extremes highest point: Ben Nevis 1,343 m

Natural resources: coal, petroleum, natural gas, tin, limestone, iron ore, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, lead, silica
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 25%
Permanent crops: 0%
Permanent pastures: 46%
Forests and woodland: 10%
Other: 19% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 1,080 km² (1993 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: NA

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

United Kingdom - People 1998
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Population: 58,970,119 (July 1998 est.)
Growth rate: 0.25% (1998 est.)

Noun: Briton(s), British (collective plural)
Adjective: British

Ethnic groups: English 81.5%, Scottish 9.6%, Irish 2.4%, Welsh 1.9%, Ulster 1.8%, West Indian, Indian, Pakistani, and other 2.8%

Languages: English, Welsh (about 26% of the population of Wales), Scottish form of Gaelic (about 60,000 in Scotland)

Religions: Anglican 27 million, Roman Catholic 9 million, Muslim 1 million, Presbyterian 800,000, Methodist 760,000, Sikh 400,000, Hindu 350,000, Jewish 300,000 (1991 est.)
Note: the UK does not include a question on religion in its census

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 19% (male 5,832,086; female 5,530,679)
15-64 years: 65% (male 19,304,762; female 19,032,024)
65 years and over: 16% (male 3,807,710; female 5,462,858) (July 1998 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 0.25% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 12.01 births/1000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 10.72 deaths/1000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 1.2 migrant(s)/1000 population (1998 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants contribute to air pollution; some rivers polluted by agricultural wastes and coastal waters polluted because of large-scale disposal of sewage at sea
International agreements party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
International agreements signed but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 5.87 deaths/1000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 77.19 years
Male: 74.57 years
Female: 79.96 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.7 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over has completed five or more years of schooling
Total population: 99% (1978 est.)
Male: NA%
Female: NA%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

United Kingdom - Government 1998
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Country name
Conventional long form: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Conventional short form: United Kingdom
Abbreviation: UK

Government type: constitutional monarchy

Capital: London

Administrative divisions: 47 counties, 7 metropolitan counties, 26 districts, 9 regions, and 3 islands areas; England_39 counties, 7 metropolitan counties*; Avon, Bedford, Berkshire, Buckingham, Cambridge, Cheshire, Cleveland, Cornwall, Cumbria, Derby, Devon, Dorset, Durham, East Sussex, Essex, Gloucester, Greater London*, Greater Manchester*, Hampshire, Hereford and Worcester, Hertford, Humberside, Isle of Wight, Kent, Lancashire, Leicester, Lincoln, Merseyside*, Norfolk, Northampton, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, Nottingham, Oxford, Shropshire, Somerset, South Yorkshire*, Stafford, Suffolk, Surrey, Tyne and Wear*, Warwick, West Midlands*, West Sussex, West Yorkshire*, Wiltshire; Northern Ireland - 26 districts; Antrim, Ards, Armagh, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Banbridge, Belfast, Carrickfergus, Castlereagh, Coleraine, Cookstown, Craigavon, Down, Dungannon, Fermanagh, Larne, Limavady, Lisburn, Londonderry, Magherafelt, Moyle, Newry and Mourne, Newtownabbey, North Down, Omagh, Strabane; Scotland_9 regions, 3 islands areas*; Borders, Central, Dumfries and Galloway, Fife, Grampian, Highland, Lothian, Orkney*, Shetland*, Strathclyde, Tayside, Western Isles*; Wales_8 counties; Clwyd, Dyfed, Gwent, Gwynedd, Mid Glamorgan, Powys, South Glamorgan, West Glamorgan
Note: The Statesman's Yearbook claims that England has 35 counties and Wales 9 counties

Dependent areas: (15) Anguilla, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands

Independence: England has existed as a unified entity since the 10th century; the union between England and Wales was enacted under the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284; in the Act of Union of 1707, England and Scotland agreed to permanent union as Great Britain; the legislative union of Great Britain and Ireland was implemented in 1801 adopting the name the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921 formalized a partition of Ireland; six northern Irish counties remained part of the United Kingdom as Northern Ireland and the current name of the country, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, was adopted in 1927

National holiday: Celebration of the Birthday of the Queen (second Saturday in June)

Constitution: unwritten; partly statutes, partly common law and practice

Legal system: common law tradition with early Roman and modern continental influences; no judicial review of Acts of Parliament; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); Heir Apparent Prince CHARLES (son of the queen, born 14 November 1948): ead of
Government: Prime Minister Tony BLAIR (since 2 May 1997)
Cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the prime minister
Elections: none; the queen is a hereditary monarch; prime minister is the leader of the majority party in the House of Commons and must have the consent of the monarch

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of House of Lords (1,200 seats; four-fifths of the members are hereditary peers, two archbishops, 24 other senior bishops, serving and retired Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, other life peers, Scottish peers) and House of Commons (659 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
Elections: House of Lords_no elections; House of Commons_last held 1 May 1997 (next to be held by NA May 2002)
Election results: House of Commons_percent of vote by party_Labor 44.5%, Conservative 31%, Liberal Democratic 17%, other 7.5%; seats by party_Labor 418, Conservative 165, Liberal Democratic 46, other 30

Judicial branch: House of Lords, several Lords of Appeal in Ordinary are appointed by the monarch for life

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: AfDB, AG (observer), AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, C, CCC, CDB (non-regional), CE, CERN, CP, EAPC, EBRD, ECA (associate), ECE, ECLAC, EIB, ESA, ESCAP, EU, FAO, G- 5, G- 7, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, MTCR, NATO, NEA, NSG, OECD, OSCE, PCA, UN, UN Security Council, UNCTAD, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNMIBH, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNU, UPU, WCL, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador Christopher MEYER
In the us chancery: 3,100 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20,008
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 588-6,500
In the us fax: [1] (202) 588-7,870
In the us consulates general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco
In the us consulates: Dallas, Miami, and Seattle
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador Philip LADER
From the us embassy: 24/31 Grosvenor Square, London, W. 1A1AE
From the us mailing address: PSC 801, Box 40, London; FPO AE 9,498-4,040
From the us telephone: [44] (171) 499-9,000
From the us fax: [44] (171) 409-1637
From the us consulates general: Belfast, Edinburgh

Flag descriptionflag of United%20Kingdom: blue 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; known as the Union Flag or Union Jack; the design and colors (especially the Blue Ensign) have been the basis for a number of other flags including dependencies, Commonwealth countries, and others

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

United Kingdom - Economy 1998
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Economy overview: The UK is one of the world's great trading powers and financial centers, and its essentially capitalistic economy ranks among the four largest in Western Europe. Over the past two decades the government has greatly reduced public ownership and contained the growth of social welfare programs. Agriculture is intensive, highly mechanized, and efficient by European standards, producing about 60% of food needs with only about 1% of the labor force. The UK has large coal, natural gas, and oil reserves; primary energy production accounts for 12% of GDP, one of the highest shares of any industrial nation. Services, particularly banking, insurance, and business services, account by far for the largest proportion of GDP while industry continues to decline in importance, now employing only 18% of the work force. Exports and manufacturing output have been the primary engines of growth. Unemployment is gradually falling. Inflation is a moderate 3.1%. A major economic policy question for the UK in the late 1990s is the terms on which it participates in the financial and economic integration of Europe.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 3.5% (1997 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 1.8%
Industry: 31.4%
Services: 66.8% (1996 est.)

Agriculture products: cereals, oilseed, potatoes, vegetables; cattle, sheep, poultry; fish

Industries: production machinery including 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, and other consumer goods

Industrial production growth rate: 2% (1997 est.)

Labor force
Total: 28.2 million (1997)
By occupation services: 68.9%
By occupation manufacturing and construction: 17.5%
By occupation government: 11.3%
By occupation energy: 1.2%
By occupation agriculture: 1.1% (1996)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 5.5% (1997 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $416.1 billion
Expenditures: $470 billion, including capital expenditures of $N/A (1996 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: 1 April_31 March

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Exports: total value:$268 billion (f.o.b., 1997)
Commodoties: manufactured goods, machinery, fuels, chemicals, semifinished goods, transport equipment
Partners: EU countries 53.2% (Germany 12.4%, France 9.9%, Netherlands 7.8%), US 11.4% (1996)

Imports: total value:$283.5 billion (f.o.b., 1997)
Commodoties: manufactured goods, machinery, semifinished goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods
Partners: EU countries 50.2% (Germany 14.2%, France 9.0%, Netherlands 6.5%), US 13.9% (1996)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $16.2 billion (June 1992)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: British pounds (£) per US$1_0.6115 (January 1998), 0.6106 (1997), 0.6403 (1996), 0.6335 (1995), 0.6529 (1994), 0.6658 (1993)

United Kingdom - Energy 1998
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 306.62 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 5,546 kWh (1995)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

United Kingdom - Communication 1998
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: technologically advanced domestic and international system
Domestic: equal mix of buried cables, microwave radio relay, and fiber-optic systems
International: 40 coaxial submarine cables; 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

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

United Kingdom - Military 1998
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $35.1 billion (FY95/96)
Percent of gdp: 3.1% (FY95/96)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

United Kingdom - Transportation 1998
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 497 (1997 est.)
With paved runways total: 356
With paved runways over 3047 m: 10
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 32
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 170
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 90
With paved runways under 914 m: 54 (1997 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 141
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 1
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 24
With unpaved runways under 914 m: 116 (1997 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 356
Over 3047 m: 10
2438 to 3047 m: 32
15-24 to 2437 m: 170
914 to 1523 m: 90
Under 914 m: 54 (1997 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 141
15-24 to 2437 m: 1
914 to 1523 m: 24
Under 914 m: 116 (1997 est.)

Heliports: 12 (1997 est.)

Pipelines: crude oil (almost all insignificant) 933 km; petroleum products 2,993 km; natural gas 12,800 km

Total: 16,878 km
Broad gauge: 342 km 1.600-m gauge (190 km double track); note_all 1.600-m gauge track, of which 342 km is in common carrier use, is in Northern Ireland
Standard gauge: 16,536 km 1.435-m gauge (4,928 km electrified; 12,591 km double or multiple track) (1996)


Waterways: 3,200 km under British Waterways Board

Merchant marine
Total: 142 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 2,192,956 GRT/2,224,715 DWT
Ships by type: bulk 5, cargo 26, chemical tanker 5, combination ore/oil 1, container 21, liquefied gas tanker 2, oil tanker 47, passenger 8, passenger-cargo 1, roll-on/roll-off cargo 13, short-sea passenger 12, specialized tanker 1
Note: UK owns 337 additional ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 13,511,240 DWT that operate under the registries of Bermuda, The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Isle of Man, Liberia, Malta, Panama, Singapore, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (1997 est.)

Ports and terminals

United Kingdom - Transnational issues 1998
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Disputes international: Northern Ireland question with Ireland (historic peace agreement approved 10 April 1998; Gibraltar question with Spain; Argentina claims Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas; Argentina claims South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; Mauritius claims island of Diego Garcia in British Indian Ocean Territory; Rockall continental shelf dispute involving Denmark, Iceland, and Ireland (Ireland and the UK have signed a boundary agreement in the Rockall area; territorial claim in Antarctica (British Antarctic Territory; Seychelles claims Chagos Archipelago in British Indian Ocean Territory

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: gateway country for Latin American cocaine entering the European market; producer of synthetic drugs, precursor chemicals; transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin; money-laundering center


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