Demography of the United Kingdom

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This article is about the demographic features of the population of the United Kingdom, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

According to the 2001 census, the total population of the United Kingdom was 58,789,194—the third-largest in the European Union (behind Germany and metropolitan France) and the 21st-largest in the world. Its overall population density is one of the highest in the world, due to the particularly high population density in England. Almost one-third of the population lives in England's southeast and is predominantly urban and suburban, with about 8.2 million in the capital city of England, London. The United Kingdom's extremely high literacy rate (99%) is attributable to universal public education introduced for the primary level in 1870 (Scotland 1872, free 1890[1]) and secondary level in 1900. Parents are obliged to have their children educated from the ages of 5 to 16 (with legislation passed to raise this to 18), and can continue education free of charge in the form of A-Levels, vocational training or apprenticeship to age 18. About one-fifth of British students go on to post-secondary education (18+).[2] The Church of England and the Church of Scotland function as the national churches in their respective countries, but all the major religions found in the world are represented in the United Kingdom.

The UK's population is predominantly White British. Being located close to continental Europe, the countries that formed the United Kingdom were subject to many invasions and migrations, especially from Scandinavia and the continent, including Roman occupation for several centuries. Historically, British people were thought to be descended mainly from the different ethnic stocks that settled there before the 11th century; pre-Celtic, Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Norman. This is under debate with scientists finding evidence of both massive Germanic influence [3] and that the majority of British ethnicity can be traced back to an ancient migrations, so that 75% of the modern British population could (in theory) trace their ancestry back 15,000 years.[4][5] Although Celtic languages are partially spoken in Scotland, Cornwall, and Northern Ireland, the predominant language overall is English. In North and West Wales, Welsh is widely spoken as a first language, but much less so in the more English dominated South East of the country.

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