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UK - People

The UK is projected to have more people than France by 2030 and is projected to have the largest population in the EU by 2047. According to the Eurostat figures, the estimated resident population of the UK at 1 January 2014 was 64.2 million, with only Germany and France estimated to have more people. The greater the population of a country, the more people are available to provide labor in the economy. The greater the population, the more people there are to buy the material goods produced. The UK population is projected to increase by 9.7 million over the next 25 years from an estimated 64.6 million in mid-2014 to 74.3 million in mid-2039. The UK population is projected to reach 70 million by mid-2027.

Assumed net migration accounts for 51% of the projected increase over the next 25 years, with natural increase (more births than deaths) accounting for the remaining 49% of growth. Over the 10 year period to mid-2024, the UK population is projected to increase by 4.4 million to 69.0 million. This is 249,000 higher than the previous (2012-based) projection for that year. The population is projected to continue ageing, with the average (median) age rising from 40.0 years in 2014 to 40.9 years in mid-2024 and 42.9 by mid-2039.

The United Kingdom's population in 2011 surpassed 62 million. Its overall population density is one of the highest in the world. Almost one-third of the population lives in England's prosperous and fertile southeast and is predominantly urban and suburban--with about 8.615 million in the capital of London, which remains the largest city in Europe.

Contemporary Britons are descended mainly from the varied ethnic stocks that settled there before the 11th century. The pre-Celtic, Celtic, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, and Norse influences were blended in Britain under the Normans, Scandinavian Vikings who had lived in Northern France. Although Celtic languages persist in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, the predominant language is English, which is primarily a blend of Anglo-Saxon and Norman French.

By the character of a nation is to be understood the combination of the prominent and leading features by which that nation is distinguished. English national character is often considered, at least by the English, to be coterminous with British national character. There is one great defect in the British character, and it is especially noticeable in people who hold high Government positions. There is an unfortunate want of imagination in many prominent Englishmen.

There is a British belief in liberty and debate as the foundation of good government and good international relations. The British have never flinched under strain or evaded a challenge. The British know what it means to stand alone and conquer - "let us die on our feet and not on our knees". One of the virtues of the British character is that he never knows when he is beaten.

Being British entailed modesty, hesitation, apologetic nature and preoccupation with two major themes: tea and the weather. The British character, self-deprecating and quick to laugh at them selves. The British have many attributes that are respected by overseas customers a tradition of fair play and honesty, the quality of products, professionalism and a reputation for innovation.

One of the elements which makes this nation what it is depends, crucially, on those robust qualities in the British character - qualities developed over a long period of time, in peace and war - which have manifested themselves in unshakeable standards of public service, of military prowess, independence of thought, voluntary effort, of artistic and scientific endeavour and great good humor. These qualities are the Shakespearean 'becoming graces' of the British character.

Rudyard Kipling put rather this point in his poem, The Return, where he says: "If England was what England seems, An' not the England of our dreams, But only putty, brass an' paint, 'Ow quick we'd drop 'er! But she ain't!" The humanity, the tolerance and fairness, the sense of justice, and of right and wrong, and the suspicion of ideology and dogma, inform so much of what the British character. PM David Cameron said "We are rigorously practical. We are obstinately down to earth. We are natural debunkers."

Although the first English colony was Virginia (1607), it was in New England that immigrants first arrived in large numbers. The English Puritans, hard pressed by a hostile King and an established church, embarked upon a Great Migration. Between 1620 (the founding of Plymouth) and 1642 (the English Civil War) over 80,000 people emigrated to America (two percent of the population); most came to New England. The English government in the early seventeenth century encouraged emigration, seeing the New World colonies as a kind of social safety valve. Unlike the Spanish and the French, significant numbers of English families settled in America.

Scottish emigration to North America was fueled by both political and economic discontent. Scotland had been joined to England by the Act of Union in 1708 after centuries of strife. The act was widely resented in Scotland, and Scottish separatism was manifested in rebellions in 1715 and 1745 against the English Hanoverian monarchy. In addition, agricultural reforms displaced farmer workers. Altogether some twentyfive thousand Scots emigrated to America between 1763 and 1775.

The Ulster Scots also came in significant numbers. The Ulster Scots were Scots who had been encouraged by the English government to settle in the Ulster region of northern Ireland in the early seventeenth century. They have been traditionally known as Scots-Irish. The term, however, is misleading because they were actually Scots living in northern Ireland. some two hundred thousand of the six hundred thousand people living in Ulster were Ulster Scots. Between fifty and seventy thousand came to America before 1770. Economic problems in the 1760s and 1770s led to an even greater surge of emigration. In the five-year span from 1770 to 1775, as many as forty thousand more Ulster Scots came to America.

In 1798, Thomas Malthus (1766-1834), a British clergyman and economist, published the "Essay on the Principle of Population," which argued that population multiplies geometrically and food arithmetically. Therefore, the population will outstrip the food supply. In addition to cutting the birth rate by sexual restraint and birth control, Malthus advocated that all people "defective" in any way, who look or behave or function differently than the rest of society, should be identified and eliminated. Therefore, only those who are "normal," those who can make the greatest contribution to society, would survive.

English historical demographers have been justly applauded for their ability to make bricks without straw while at the same time being criticised for failing to put sufficient flesh on their statistical skeletons. The Victorian period was important as a turning point in Englands longer population history. Mortality, varied between 30 and 40 in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It was around 40 years early in the nineteenth century and stayed at about that level until the third quarter of the century when the secular decline of mortality began. From the fourth quarter of the nineteenth century fertility was apparently in free fall, only ending its decline in the 1940s. Clearly the Victorian era was above all one of demographic change in which the secular declines of both mortality and fertility began, and by 1901 new, lower than previously experienced levels had been reached.

'Replacement level fertility' is a technical term which seems almost self-explanatory. However there are some important qualifications which make it a more difficult concept than might be supposed. Also, the relationship between replacement level fertility and zero population growth is complicated. Although the United Kingdom's current level of fertility is below replacement level, population is projected to grow for at least thirty years into the 21st Century.

The United Kingdom's high literacy rate (99%) is attributable to universal public education introduced for the primary level in 1870 and secondary level in 1900. Education is mandatory from ages 5 through 18. The Church of England and the Church of Scotland are the official churches in their respective parts of the country, but most religions found in the world are represented in the United Kingdom.

Oxford, founded late in the 12th century, and Cambridge, founded in the early 13th century, were the first universities in what is now the United Kingdom, and among the oldest in Europe. By the end of the 15th century, there were five universities in the United Kingdom, including St. Andrews (1411), Glasgow (1494), and Aberdeen (1494). Traditionally, only about 15 percent of UK students continued the "Sixth Form" (upper-level of senior high school) which prepared them to enter higher education after "A level" examinations (secondary school examinations for entry to the university). The "Fifth Form" (standard schooling) ends at grade 11. Many students opted out of continuing their education because upper-level high school, for 16- to 18-year-olds, required declaring a major field and total emersion in that coursework.

EU law guarantees that citizens of one EU country have the right to travel, live, and take jobs in other EU countries. The British increasingly felt the impact of this rule since the 2008 financial crisis. Workers from eurozone countries such as Ireland, Italy, and Lithuania (as well as other EU countries like Poland and Romania) flocked to the UK in search of work. The UK absorbed 333,000 new people, on net, in 2015. Thats a significant number for a country Britains size, though according to the CIA the UK still received slightly fewer net migrants, relative to population, than the United States in 2015.

Migration Watch UK argued "England is already twice as crowded as Germany and 3.5 times as crowded as France. The additional population growth makes congestion worse and adds to the pressures on public services. This comes at a time when public spending is being reduced. One in four children born in England and Wales is to a foreign born mother. The rise in the number of births has put pressure on NHS maternity services. It has also led to a shortage of school places. 60% of local authorities will have a shortage of primary school places by 2018. The UK has a serious housing crisis. Mass immigration is the main reason for the additional demand. If it continues at current levels, we will need to build 135,000 new homes a year just to house new migrants and their families. "

In YE December 2015, 308,000 people immigrated for work, an increase of 30,000 from the previous year and the highest estimate on record. Of these, 178,000 (58%) had a definite job to go to and 130,000 (42%) arrived looking for work the latter figure being a statistically significant increase from 104,000 the previous year.

There were 41,563 asylum applications (including dependants) in YE March 2016, an increase of 30% compared with the previous year (32,036). This is the fifth successive year in which asylum applications have risen, although the number of applications is low relative to the peak in 2002 (103,081).

The largest number of applications for asylum, including dependants, came from nationals of Iran (4,811; +2,324), followed by Pakistan (3,511; -1), Iraq (3,374; +2,367), Eritrea (3,340; -270) and Afghanistan (3,133; +1,423). There were 2,235 (+680) Syrian nationals granted asylum or an alternative form of protection in the YE March 2016 and a further 1,667 Syrian nationals granted humanitarian protection under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.

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Page last modified: 16-07-2016 15:42:26 ZULU