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United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Summary

The United Kingdom consists of four countries—England, Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. The capital city is London which is also a global finance and cultural center.1 The UK boasts a rich history and is one of the oldest monarchies still remaining in the world. The country has been facing rapid change in recent years, and in 2016, a referendum was passed for the country to withdraw from the European Union which has historically been its main ally and trading partner. This year also brought an immigration increase and rise in fear of terror attacks.2 1 https://www.britannica.com/place/United-Kingdom/Plant-and-animal-life#toc44682
2 https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/uk.html

Demographics

Nationality
British
Population
63,395,574 (July 2013 est.)
Ethnic Groups
Languages
Religions

Explore United Kingdom Subcases

Click and view United Kingdom subcases and learn more about our United Kingdom

Environment
Family
Human Rights
Education
Poverty
Religion
Clean Water
Economy
Government
Health
Children
Animals

Environment

The United Kingdom’s environmental protection agency is most concerned with protecting their environment from pollution and landfill waste, protection of parks, and enforcing regulations that keep water and air clean.1 In 2016, the UK signed the Paris Climate Agreement which binds the nation to cut carbon in all of its electricity by 2030 in hopes to keep global warming temperatures below 2 degrees celsius overall.2

Family

Family life in the UK has been undergoing change in the last decade, and now 25% of young people aged 20-34 live in their parents’ household and over 3.3 million families share a house with another family. Both of these are significantly higher than years previous.1 Families are also getting smaller, and on average, 1.89 children are born to every woman.2 1 in 4 women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, and only 35% of these cases will be reported to authorities. Domestic abuse accounts for 8% of all crime in the UK.3

Human Rights

The UK has seen an influx in terror attacks and hate crimes beginning in 2016.1 Because of these attacks, there has been debate whether human rights laws need to be changed to give harsher prison sentences.2 Freedom of press, religion, and assembly are constitutionally protected and upheld.3

Education

The education system of the UK is ranked 6th in the world based on international test results and graduation rates.1 Reasons behind these positive results include the high regard for teachers and cultural tradition of higher education.1 Between the four parts of the United Kingdom, Scotland performs the best, followed closely by England and Northern Ireland, and Wales performs much lower than the other three.1 Because of the government’s free preschool policy, 95% of three and four year olds are enrolled in preschool programs.2

Poverty

15% of the population lives below the poverty line, and over one million people live in destitute poverty in the UK.1

Religion

The United Kingdom has laws in place that provide for freedom of religion, but church and state are not inherently separate.1 The Church of England plays a traditional role in government affairs, and church leadership must be appointed by the head of state or the prime minister.1 Even with this strong Christian presence however, the UK has a large diversity of religious beliefs with large and growing populations of people practicing Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, and Buddhism. 2 Because of the prevalence of terrorist attacks in the UK sometimes committed by Arab Muslims, there has been an increase in xenophobia and hate crimes against Muslims.3 A 2017 survey concluded that 31% of Britons thought Islam promoted violence in the UK, and 43% thought the religion had Read More a negative effect on the country.3 Show Less

Clean Water

100% of the population has access to clean drinking water.1 There are strict guidelines for the quality of drinking water in the UK and it is considered to be among the best in the world.1

Economy

Historically, the United Kingdom has been an economic powerhouse in Europe with extensive trading and financial sectors, but with the vote to withdraw from the European Union, known as Brexit, in 2016, their economic future is uncertain.1 In the year following the Brexit vote, interest rates were cut, investments hit record lows, and the British Pound plunged in value.1 Despite these challenges, the economy has remained largely unchanged.1 The UK continues to be one of the fastest growing and most powerful economies in Europe, and their banking, financial, insurance, and business services are the largest factors contributing to their GDP.2 The unemployment rate is hovering steady at 5%.2

Government

The government of the United Kingdom is a Constitutional Monarchy. The monarchy is still an important institution in the UK, and Queen Elizabeth II is considered the head of state. The head of government is the prime minister, who runs the nation with assistance from their cabinet and ministers and the 650 member of Parliament.1 After the Brexit vote to leave the European Union in 2016, populism and nationalism began to increase in popularity.2 Government corruption is not endemic in the United Kingdom, but there are occasionally scandals regarding government officials.3 The rule of law in the UK is well enforced and the legal system is well funded and independent from undue political influence.3

Health

Health care coverage is universal in the UK for all citizens through the National Health Service.1 England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland all have their own systems of privately and publicly funded health care.1 The World Health Organization ranked the UK’s healthcare as 15th best in Europe and 18th in the world.2 The most significant health risks that English adults face are obesity, high blood pressure, and high rates of tobacco usage.2

Children

In the United Kingdom today, 30% of children live in poverty; this is one of the highest rates for highly industrialized nations in the world.1 Poverty creates cycles of social exclusion, and creates problems in education, employment, mental, and physical health. Child abuse is a problem in the UK; 1 in 5 children undergo some sort of abuse, and 33% of these cases go unreported.2

Animals

Small woodland creatures like deer, fox, and wolves are scattered across rural areas of the country. Many larger animals that used to populate the island like boar and reindeer have disappeared, and the red deer and roe deer in Scotland are at risk of leaving as well because of overhunting and habitat destruction.1

United Kingdom

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