UK, Great Britain
Statistics and Market Data on the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a sovereign state consisting of four countries – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It includes the island of Great Britain as well as the north-eastern corner of Ireland. Northern Ireland shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland and is the only part of the United Kingdom (UK) directly bordering another sovereign state.
The country is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government. Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state while the prime minister is the head of government. The UK’s economy is the sixth largest in the world and the third largest in Europe, after Germany and France. Long an industrial power, the UK made the switch from heavy industry to an innovative, service-orientated economy. In 21st century Britain, the pharmaceutical and aerospace industries are the major players. Some of the world’s best known companies come from the UK, including BP, British Airways and Vodafone.
The UK is a major international manufacturer, having exported 473.19 billion U.S. dollars worth of goods in 2011. These impressive figures mean the UK ranks highly on the list of the top 20 exporting countries worldwide. Of total imports, goods amounting to 55.96 billion U.S. dollars were imported from the United States. A strong relationship has existed between the United States and the United Kingdom for decades – the countries are close trading partners and military allies.
By 2013, the population of the UK had reached 63.49 million. This means that the nation’s population has increased by 4 million over the past decade. People in the UK have fully embraced technology including the Internet. According to statistics, an impressive 25.9 million people use social networks across Great Britain and this is forecast to increase to 29.4 million by 2014.
The United Kingdom has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since 1946 and joined what is now known as the European Union in 1973. Like its neighbors, the British economy has suffered due to the global financial crisis. In 2008, the economy officially entered recession for the first time since 1991. Between 2008 and 2009, the unemployment rate in the UK rose from 5.56 percent to 7.45 percent. By 2013, it had reached 8.11 percent.
The level of national debt has also risen significantly since the onset of the financial crisis, reaching 1.5 trillion pounds by 2013. Despite this however, the UK still enjoys a very high standard of living with a GDP per capital of 39,883 U.S. dollars. The UK’s capital, London, was praised worldwide for successfully hosting the 2012 Olympic Summer Games.