Europe :: United Kingdom
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of United Kingdom
Location of United Kingdom
 
Map of United Kingdom
Introduction ::United Kingdom
As the dominant industrial and maritime power of the 19th century, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland played a leading role in developing parliamentary democracy and in advancing literature and science. At its zenith, the British Empire stretched over one-fourth of the earth's surface. The first half of the 20th century saw the UK's strength seriously depleted in two World Wars and the Irish republic withdraw from the union. The second half witnessed the dismantling of the Empire and the UK rebuilding itself into a modern and prosperous European nation. As one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council, a founding member of NATO, and of the Commonwealth, the UK pursues a global approach to foreign policy; it currently is weighing the degree of its integration with continental Europe. A member of the EU, it chose to remain outside the Economic and Monetary Union for the time being. Constitutional reform is also a significant issue in the UK. The Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, and the Northern Ireland Assembly were established in 1999, but the latter was suspended until May 2007 due to wrangling over the peace process.
Geography ::United Kingdom
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
54 00 N, 2 00 W
total: 243,610 sq km
country comparison to the world: 79
land: 241,930 sq km
water: 1,680 sq km
note: includes Rockall and Shetland Islands
slightly smaller than Oregon
total: 360 km
border countries: Ireland 360 km
12,429 km
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: as defined in continental shelf orders or in accordance with agreed upon boundaries
temperate; moderated by prevailing southwest winds over the North Atlantic Current; more than one-half of the days are overcast
mostly rugged hills and low mountains; level to rolling plains in east and southeast
lowest point: The Fens -4 m
highest point: Ben Nevis 1,343 m
coal, petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, lead, zinc, gold, tin, limestone, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, potash, silica sand, slate, arable land
arable land: 23.23%
permanent crops: 0.2%
other: 76.57% (2005)
1,700 sq km (2003)
160.6 cu km (2005)
total: 11.75 cu km/yr (22%/75%/3%)
per capita: 197 cu m/yr (1994)
winter windstorms; floods
continues to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (has met Kyoto Protocol target of a 12.5% reduction from 1990 levels and intends to meet the legally binding target and move toward a domestic goal of a 20% cut in emissions by 2010); by 2005 the government reduced the amount of industrial and commercial waste disposed of in landfill sites to 85% of 1998 levels and recycled or composted at least 25% of household waste, increasing to 33% by 2015
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
lies near vital North Atlantic sea lanes; only 35 km from France and linked by tunnel under the English Channel; because of heavily indented coastline, no location is more than 125 km from tidal waters
People ::United Kingdom
61,113,205 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22
0-14 years: 16.7% (male 5,233,756/female 4,986,131)
15-64 years: 67.1% (male 20,774,192/female 20,246,519)
65 years and over: 16.2% (male 4,259,654/female 5,612,953) (2009 est.)
total: 40.2 years
male: 39.1 years
female: 41.3 years (2009 est.)
0.279% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175
10.65 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 182
10.02 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64
2.16 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 42
urban population: 90% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 0.5% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
total: 4.85 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 193
male: 5.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.28 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
total population: 79.01 years
country comparison to the world: 36
male: 76.52 years
female: 81.63 years (2009 est.)
1.66 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175
0.2% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 95
77,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 52
fewer than 500 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97
noun: Briton(s), British (collective plural)
adjective: British
white (of which English 83.6%, Scottish 8.6%, Welsh 4.9%, Northern Irish 2.9%) 92.1%, black 2%, Indian 1.8%, Pakistani 1.3%, mixed 1.2%, other 1.6% (2001 census)
Christian (Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 71.6%, Muslim 2.7%, Hindu 1%, other 1.6%, unspecified or none 23.1% (2001 census)
English, Welsh (about 26% of the population of Wales), Scottish form of Gaelic (about 60,000 in Scotland)
definition: age 15 and over has completed five or more years of schooling
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
total: 16 years
male: 16 years
female: 17 years (2006)
5.6% of GDP (2005)
country comparison to the world: 47
Government ::United Kingdom
conventional long form: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; note - Great Britain includes England, Scotland, and Wales
conventional short form: United Kingdom
abbreviation: UK
constitutional monarchy and Commonwealth realm
name: London
geographic coordinates: 51 30 N, 0 10 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
note: applies to the United Kingdom proper, not to its overseas dependencies or territories
England: 34 two-tier counties, 32 London boroughs and 1 City of London or Greater London, 36 metropolitan counties, 46 unitary authorities
two-tier counties: Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon, Dorset, Durham, East Sussex, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, North Yorkshire, Northamptonshire, Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Shropshire, Somerset, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Sussex, Wiltshire, Worcestershire
London boroughs and City of London or Greater London: Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston upon Thames, Lambeth, Lewisham, City of London, Merton, Newham, Redbridge, Richmond upon Thames, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth, Westminster
metropolitan counties: Barnsley, Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford, Bury, Calderdale, Coventry, Doncaster, Dudley, Gateshead, Kirklees, Knowlsey, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, Oldham, Rochdale, Rotherham, Salford, Sandwell, Sefton, Sheffield, Solihull, South Tyneside, St. Helens, Stockport, Sunderland, Tameside, Trafford, Wakefield, Walsall, Wigan, Wirral, Wolverhampton
unitary authorities: Bath and North East Somerset, Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Bracknell Forest, Brighton and Hove, City of Bristol, Darlington, Derby, East Riding of Yorkshire, Halton, Hartlepool, County of Herefordshire, Isle of Wight, City of Kingston upon Hull, Leicester, Luton, Medway, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, North East Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire, North Somerset, Nottingham, Peterborough, Plymouth, Poole, Portsmouth, Reading, Redcar and Cleveland, Rutland, Slough, South Gloucestershire, Southampton, Southend-on-Sea, Stockton-on-Tees, Stoke-on-Trent, Swindon, Telford and Wrekin, Thurrock, Torbay, Warrington, West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead, Wokingham, York
Northern Ireland: 26 district council areas
district council areas: Antrim, Ards, Armagh, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Banbridge, Belfast, Carrickfergus, Castlereagh, Coleraine, Cookstown, Craigavon, Derry, Down, Dungannon, Fermanagh, Larne, Limavady, Lisburn, Magherafelt, Moyle, Newry and Mourne, Newtownabbey, North Down, Omagh, Strabane
Scotland: 32 unitary authorities
unitary authorities: Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee City, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, City of Edinburgh, Eilean Siar (Western Isles), Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow City, Highland, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Moray, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Orkney Islands, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Shetland Islands, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, The Scottish Borders, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian
Wales: 22 unitary authorities
unitary authorities: Blaenau Gwent; Bridgend; Caerphilly; Cardiff; Carmarthenshire; Ceredigion; Conwy; Denbighshire; Flintshire; Gwynedd; Isle of Anglesey; Merthyr Tydfil; Monmouthshire; Neath Port Talbot; Newport; Pembrokeshire; Powys; Rhondda, Cynon, Taff; Swansea; The Vale of Glamorgan; Torfaen; Wrexham
Anguilla, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands
1927; England has existed as a unified entity since the 10th century; the union between England and Wales, begun in 1284 with the Statute of Rhuddlan, was not formalized until 1536 with an Act of Union; in another Act of Union in 1707, England and Scotland agreed to permanently join as Great Britain; the legislative union of Great Britain and Ireland was implemented in 1801, with the adoption of 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
the UK does not celebrate one particular national holiday
unwritten; partly statutes, partly common law and practice
based on common law tradition with early Roman and modern continental influences; has nonbinding judicial review of Acts of Parliament under the Human Rights Act of 1998; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
18 years of age; universal
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); Heir Apparent Prince CHARLES (son of the queen, born 14 November 1948)
head of government: Prime Minister James Gordon BROWN (since 27 June 2007)
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the prime minister
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually the prime minister
bicameral Parliament consists of House of Lords (618 seats; consisting of approximately 500 life peers, 92 hereditary peers, and 26 clergy) and House of Commons (646 seats since 2005 elections; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms unless the House is dissolved earlier)
elections: House of Lords - no elections (note - in 1999, as provided by the House of Lords Act, elections were held in the House of Lords to determine the 92 hereditary peers who would remain there; elections are held only as vacancies in the hereditary peerage arise); House of Commons - last held 5 May 2005 (next to be held by June 2010)
election results: House of Commons - percent of vote by party - Labor 35.2%, Conservative 32.3%, Liberal Democrats 22%, other 10.5%; seats by party - Labor 355, Conservative 198, Liberal Democrat 62, other 31; seats by party in the House of Commons as of 21 November 2008 - Labor 350, Conservative 192, Liberal Democrat 63, Scottish National Party/Plaid Cymru 10, Democratic Unionist 9, Sinn Fein 5, other 17
note: in 1998 elections were held for a Northern Ireland Assembly (because of unresolved disputes among existing parties, the transfer of power from London to Northern Ireland came only at the end of 1999 and has been suspended four times, the latest occurring in October 2002 and lasting until 8 May 2007); in 1999, the UK held the first elections for a Scottish Parliament and a Welsh Assembly, the most recent of which were held in May 2007
House of Lords (highest court of appeal; several Lords of Appeal in Ordinary are appointed by the monarch for life); Supreme Courts of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland (comprising the Courts of Appeal, the High Courts of Justice, and the Crown Courts); Scotland's Court of Session and Court of the Justiciary
Conservative [David CAMERON]; Democratic Unionist Party or DUP (Northern Ireland) [Peter ROBINSON]; Labor Party [Gordon BROWN]; Liberal Democrats [Nick CLEGG]; Party of Wales (Plaid Cymru) [Ieuan Wyn JONES]; Scottish National Party or SNP [Alex SALMOND]; Sinn Fein (Northern Ireland) [Gerry ADAMS]; Social Democratic and Labor Party or SDLP (Northern Ireland) [Mark DURKAN]; Ulster Unionist Party (Northern Ireland) [Sir Reg EMPEY]
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament; Confederation of British Industry; National Farmers' Union; Trades Union Congress
ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BIS, C, CBSS (observer), CDB, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, ESA, EU, FAO, G-20, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), SECI (observer), UN, UN Security Council, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WEU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
chief of mission: Ambassador Sir Nigel E. SHEINWALD
chancery: 3100 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 588-6500
FAX: [1] (202) 588-7870
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco
consulate(s): Dallas, Denver, Orlando
chief of mission: Ambassador Robert Holmes TUTTLE
embassy: 24 Grosvenor Square, London, W1A 1AE
mailing address: PSC 801, Box 40, FPO AE 09498-4040
telephone: [44] (0) 20 7499-9000
FAX: [44] (0) 20 7629-9124
consulate(s) general: Belfast, Edinburgh
blue field 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); properly known as the Union Flag, but commonly called the Union Jack; the design and colors (especially the Blue Ensign) have been the basis for a number of other flags including other Commonwealth countries and their constituent states or provinces, and British overseas territories
Economy ::United Kingdom
The UK, a leading trading power and financial center, is one of the quintet of trillion dollar economies of 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 less than 2% of the labor force. The UK has large coal, natural gas, and oil resources, but its oil and natural gas reserves are declining and the UK became a net importer of energy in 2005; energy industries now contribute about 4% to GDP. Services, particularly banking, insurance, and business services, account by far for the largest proportion of GDP while industry continues to decline in importance. Since emerging from recession in 1992, Britain's economy enjoyed the longest period of expansion on record during which time growth outpaced most of Western Europe. The global economic slowdown, tight credit, and falling home prices, however, pushed Britain back into recession in the latter half of 2008 and prompted the BROWN government to implement a number of new measures to stimulate the economy and stabilize the financial markets; these include part-nationalizing the banking system, cutting taxes, suspending public sector borrowing rules, and bringing forward public spending on capital projects. The Bank of England periodically coordinates interest rate moves with the European Central Bank, but Britain remains outside the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), and opinion polls show a majority of Britons oppose joining the euro.
$2.226 trillion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
$2.21 trillion (2007 est.)
$2.154 trillion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
$2.674 trillion (2008 est.)
0.7% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188
2.6% (2007 est.)
2.9% (2006 est.)
$36,500 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
$36,400 (2007 est.)
$35,500 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
agriculture: 1.3%
industry: 24.2%
services: 74.5% (2008 est.)
31.23 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18
agriculture: 1.4%
industry: 18.2%
services: 80.4% (2006 est.)
5.6% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 69
5.3% (2007 est.)
14% (2006 est.)
lowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 28.5% (1999)
34 (2005)
country comparison to the world: 92
36.8 (1999)
16.7% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 134
revenues: $1.056 trillion
expenditures: $1.214 trillion (2008 est.)
52% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 34
39.6% of GDP (2004 est.)
3.6% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 52
2.3% (2007 est.)
NA% (31 December 2008)
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 137
5.52% (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
$NA (31 December 2008)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 4
$5.277 trillion (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 5
$3.859 trillion (31 December 2007)
$3.794 trillion (31 December 2006)
cereals, oilseed, potatoes, vegetables; cattle, sheep, poultry; fish
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, other consumer goods
-2% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
368.6 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
345.8 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
1.272 billion kWh (2008 est.)
12.29 billion kWh (2008 est.)
1.584 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 19
1.71 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 15
1.602 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 15
1.651 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13
3.41 billion bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
69.9 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 14
95.94 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
10.5 billion cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 19
36.54 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
342.9 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
$-44.96 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185
$-78.78 billion (2007 est.)
$464.9 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
$442 billion (2007 est.)
manufactured goods, fuels, chemicals; food, beverages, tobacco
US 13.9%, Germany 11.5%, Netherlands 7.8%, France 7.5%, Ireland 7.5%, Belgium 5.2%, Spain 4.1% (2008)
$636 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
$620.7 billion (2007 est.)
manufactured goods, machinery, fuels; foodstuffs
Germany 13.1%, US 8.7%, China 7.5%, Netherlands 7.4%, France 6.8%, Norway 6%, Belgium 4.7%, Italy 4.1% (2008)
$52.98 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24
$57.3 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
$9.17 trillion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 2
$11.26 trillion (31 December 2007)
$1.445 trillion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
$1.348 trillion (31 December 2007 est.)
$1.816 trillion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
$1.705 trillion (31 December 2007 est.)
British pounds (GBP) per US dollar - 0.5302 (2008 est.), 0.4993 (2007), 0.5418 (2006), 0.5493 (2005), 0.5462 (2004)
Communications ::United Kingdom
33.209 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 9
75.565 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 11
general assessment: technologically advanced domestic and international system
domestic: equal mix of buried cables, microwave radio relay, and fiber-optic systems
international: country code - 44; numerous submarine cables provide links throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and US; 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
AM 206, FM 696, shortwave 3 (2008)
940 (2008)
.uk
9.322 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 11
48.755 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 7
Transportation ::United Kingdom
506 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 14
total: 307
over 3,047 m: 9
2,438 to 3,047 m: 32
1,524 to 2,437 m: 125
914 to 1,523 m: 77
under 914 m: 64 (2009)
total: 199
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 22
under 914 m: 173 (2009)
11 (2009)
condensate 43 km; gas 7,541 km; liquid petroleum gas 59 km; oil 699 km; refined products 4,417 km (2008)
total: 16,454 km
country comparison to the world: 17
broad gauge: 303 km 1.600-m gauge (in Northern Ireland)
standard gauge: 16,151 km 1.435-m gauge (5,248 km electrified) (2008)
total: 398,366 km
country comparison to the world: 16
paved: 398,366 km (includes 3,520 km of expressways) (2006)
3,200 km (620 km used for commerce) (2008)
country comparison to the world: 32
total: 518
country comparison to the world: 22
by type: bulk carrier 33, cargo 67, carrier 5, chemical tanker 61, container 180, liquefied gas 18, passenger 10, passenger/cargo 67, petroleum tanker 23, refrigerated cargo 12, roll on/roll off 24, vehicle carrier 18
foreign-owned: 264 (Cyprus 2, Denmark 62, Finland 1, France 23, Germany 76, Hong Kong 2, Ireland 1, Italy 5, Japan 4, NZ 1, Norway 31, South Africa 3, Spain 1, Sweden 17, Switzerland 1, Taiwan 11, Turkey 2, UAE 9, US 12)
registered in other countries: 391 (Algeria 11, Antigua and Barbuda 9, Argentina 4, Australia 5, Bahamas 56, Barbados 9, Belize 5, Bermuda 3, Brunei 1, Cape Verde 1, Cayman Islands 3, Cyprus 19, Gibraltar 2, Greece 32, Hong Kong 39, India 2, Italy 7, South Korea 1, Liberia 20, Luxembourg 8, Malta 19, Marshall Islands 18, Netherlands 2, Norway 5, Panama 59, Saint Kitts and Nevis 3, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 14, Sierra Leone 2, Singapore 17, Slovakia 1, Spain 5, Sweden 2, Thailand 5, Tonga 1, US 1) (2008)
Dover, Felixstowe, Immingham, Liverpool, London, Southampton, Teesport (England); Forth Ports, Hound Point (Scotland); Milford Haven (Wales)
Military ::United Kingdom
Army, Royal Navy (includes Royal Marines), Royal Air Force (2009)
16-33 years of age (officers 17-28) for voluntary military service (with parental consent under 18); women serve in military services, but are excluded from ground combat positions and some naval postings; must be citizen of the UK, Commonwealth, or Republic of Ireland; reservists serve a minimum of 3 years, to age 45 or 55; 16 years of age for voluntary military service by Nepalese citizens in the Brigade of the Gurkhas; 16-34 years of age for voluntary military service by Papua New Guinean citizens (2008)
males age 16-49: 14,729,500
females age 16-49: 14,125,600 (2008 est.)
males age 16-49: 12,123,900
females age 16-49: 11,616,769 (2009 est.)
male: 393,892
female: 376,351 (2009 est.)
2.4% of GDP (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 70
Transnational Issues ::United Kingdom
in 2002, Gibraltar residents voted overwhelmingly by referendum to reject any "shared sovereignty" arrangement between the UK and Spain; the Government of Gibraltar insists on equal participation in talks between the two countries; Spain disapproves of UK plans to grant Gibraltar greater autonomy; Mauritius and Seychelles claim the Chagos Archipelago (British Indian Ocean Territory), and its former inhabitants since their eviction in 1965; most Chagossians reside in Mauritius, and in 2001 were granted UK citizenship, where some have since resettled; in May 2006, the High Court of London reversed the UK Government's 2004 orders of council that banned habitation on the islands; UK rejects sovereignty talks requested by Argentina, which still claims the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; territorial claim in Antarctica (British Antarctic Territory) overlaps Argentine claim and partially overlaps Chilean claim; Iceland, the UK, and Ireland dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm
producer of limited amounts of synthetic drugs and synthetic precursor chemicals; major consumer of Southwest Asian heroin, Latin American cocaine, and synthetic drugs; money-laundering center