Chapter 4 A Modern Thriving Society -Part 1 Revision

The 4th Chapter of Life in the United Kingdom: A Guide for New Residents , 3rd Edition is “A Modern, Thriving Society”. The UK is much more diverse today than it has been in the past. Due to post-war immigration, nearly 10% of the population have a parent or grandparent born in a foreign country. This diversity contributes to a unique and varied country.

The Nations of the UK

  • –  The United Kingdom is located in north-western Europe. The longest distance on the mainland is 1400 kilometers (approximately 870 miles).
  • –  Most people live in towns and cities but there is still a great deal of countryside in Britain. Many people choose to visit these rural areas while on holiday.
  • –  There are many cities in the UK. Some of the more prominent ones are:
  • England
    • London (capital city)
    • Birmingham
    • Liverpool
    • Leeds
    • Sheffield
    • Bristol
    • Manchester
    • Bradford
    • Newcastle upon Tyne
    • Plymouth
    • Southampton
    • Norwich



  • Wales
    • Cardiff (capital city)
    • Swensee
    • Newport


  • Northern Ireland
    • Belfast (capital city)


  • Scotland
    • Edinburgh (capital city)
    • Glasgow
    • Dundee
    • Aberdeen

– The currency in the UK is the pound sterling. The symbol is ₤. A pound can be divided into 100 pence, which is abbreviated “p”.

  • The British coins are: 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, 1₤, 2₤
  • The British paper bills (or notes) are: ₤5, ₤10, ₤20, ₤50.
  • Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own banknotes, which are valid everywhere in the UK. Shopkeepers and businesses may choose not to accept them.

– There are several differences in language throughout the UK.

  • The English language has many dialects spoken throughout Britain.
  • Gaelic, a Scottish language, is spoken in some parts of the Scottish Highlands and the Islands. Irish Gaelic is spoken in parts of Northern Ireland.
  • Welsh is a language spoken primarily in Wales.

– The population of the UK has grown tremendously throughout its history:

  • 1600 – Just over 4 million people
  • 1700  – 5 million
  • 1800 – 8 million
  • 1851- – 50 million
  • 1901 – 40 million
  • 1951 – 20 million
  • 1998- 57 million
  • 2005- Just under 60 million
  • 2010 – Just over 62 million

– Population by geographical distribution:

  • England  84%
  • Scotland  Just over 8%
  • Wales 5%
  • Northern Ireland less than 3%
  • Population is growing at a faster rate than before. This is primarily due to immigration and longer life expectancies.

– Population and Age:

  • The average age of the population is also changing. People are living longer due to improved health care and living standards.
  • There are more people over the age of 85 than ever before. This has had a financial impact on pensions and health care.

– Population and Ethnicity:

  • The exact breakdown of ethnic groups in the total population is very hard to calculate, and it can change quickly.
  • In general, surveys tend to show that the largest segment of the population self identifies as white. This comprises people of European, Australian, Canadian, New Zealand and American descent. Other highly represented groups are Asians, Blacks, and those of mixed descent.

– Population and Gender:

  • In the UK people cannot be discriminated against because of gender or marital status. Everyone has an equal right to work, own property, marry and divorce.
    • If a couple is married, both parents have equal responsibility to care for their children. It is no longer expected that men work and women stay at home to care for the children.
    • Both men and women continue to work after the birth of a child. Additionally, many families divide household chores as well.
  • Women in the UK make up about half the workforce. Employment opportunities are much greater for women than at any other time in history.
    • Both men and women work in all areas and industries.
    • The number of women in high level and senior positions has increased dramatically.
    • On average, women leave school with better qualifications than men. More women go to university as well.