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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Key facts about the United Kingdom

If you're looking for key facts about the UK and its overseas territories, there are good sources of information available online and elsewhere.

'UK' or 'Britain'?

The full title of this country is 'the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland':

  • Great Britain is made up of England, Scotland and Wales
  • the United Kingdom (UK) is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

'Britain' is used informally, usually meaning the United Kingdom.

The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not part of the UK. The geographical term 'British Isles' covers the UK, all of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.


In 2009 there were an estimated 61.8 million people resident in the UK. That's an increase of 2.7 million since 2001, and an increase of 23.6 million since the start of the 20th century.

The average age of the population in the UK has increased from 36 years in 1992 to 40 years in 2009.

Every ten years, a population census takes place. Statistics for the 2001 census are available online. Full details are available for the censuses held in 1911 and earlier, including individual census returns.

Statistical themes

The Office for National Statistics provides data and analysis categorised by themes, subject areas and topics.

Reference sources

The British Council

The British Council is the UK's international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations and promotes UK culture and language abroad.


VisitBritain promotes Britain overseas and in the UK as a tourist destination. VisitBritain works in partnership with the national tourist boards in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to promote an attractive image of Britain.

Overseas territories and Crown Dependencies

Britain's 14 Overseas Territories, spread throughout the globe, are diverse communities. They range from the tiny island of Pitcairn with its 47 inhabitants, set in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, to Bermuda, which has a population of 62,059 and is one of the world's major financial centres.

The Overseas Territories are: Anguilla, British Antarctic Territory, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena and Dependencies (Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha), Turk and Caicos Islands, Pitcairn Island, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus.

The Crown Dependencies are not part of the United Kingdom but are internally self-governing dependencies of the Crown. The Crown Dependencies are the Isle of Man, the Bailiwick of Jersey and the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

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