The World Factbook (1990)/United Kingdom

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

United Kingdom

World Factbook (1990) United Kingdom.jpg

See regional map V


Total area: 244,820 km²; land area: 241,590 km²; includes Rockall and Shetland Islands

Comparative area: slightly smaller than Oregon

Land boundary: Ireland 360 km

Coastline: 12,429 km

Maritime claims:

Continental shelf: 200 meters or to depth of exploitation or in accordance with agreed upon boundaries
Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Disputes: maritime boundary with Ireland; Northern Ireland question with Ireland; Gibraltar question with Spain; Argentina claims Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas); Argentina claims South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; Mauritius claims island of Diego Garcia in British Indian Ocean Territory; Hong Kong is scheduled to become a Special Administrative Region of China in 1997; Rockall continental shelf dispute involving Denmark, Iceland, and Ireland (Ireland and the UK have signed a boundary agreement in the Rockall area); territorial claim in Antarctica (British Antarctic Territory)

Climate: temperate; moderated by prevailing southwest winds over the North Atlantic Current; more than half of the days are overcast

Terrain: mostly rugged hills and low mountains; level to rolling plains in east and southeast

Natural resources: coal, crude oil, natural gas, tin, limestone, iron ore, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, lead, silica

Land use: 29% arable land; NEGL% permanent crops; 48% meadows and pastures; 9% forest and woodland; 14% other; includes 1% irrigated

Environment: pollution control measures improving air, water quality; because of heavily indented coastline, no location is more than 125 km from tidal waters

Note: lies near vital North Atlantic sea lanes; only 35 km from France


Population: 57,365,665 (July 1990), growth rate 0.3% (1990)

Birth rate: 14 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 11 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 0 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 7 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 73 years male, 79 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 1.8 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Briton(s), British (collective pl.); adjective—British

Ethnic divisions: 81.5% English, 9.6% Scottish, 2.4% Irish, 1.9% Welsh, 1.8% Ulster, 2.8% West Indian, Indian, Pakistani, and other

Religion: 27.0 million Anglican, 5.3 million Roman Catholic, 2.0 million Presbyterian, 760,000 Methodist, 410,000 Jewish

Language: English, Welsh (about 26% of population of Wales), Scottish form of Gaelic (about 60,000 in Scotland)

Literacy: 99%

Labor force: 28,120,000; 53.3% services, 23.6% manufacturing and construction, 10.8% self-employed, 6.8% government, 1.0% agriculture (1988)

Organized labor: 37% of labor force (1987)


Long-form name: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; abbreviated UK

Type: constitutional monarchy

Capital: London

Administrative divisions: 47 counties, 7 metropolitan counties, 26 districts, 9 regions, and 3 islands areas

England—39 counties, 7 metropolitan counties*; Avon, Bedford, Berkshire, Buckingham, Cambridge, Cheshire, Cleveland, Cornwall, Cumbria, Derby, Devon, Dorset, Durham, East Sussex, Essex, Gloucester, Greater London*, Greater Manchester*, Hampshire, Hereford and Worcester, Hertford, Humberside, Isle of Wight, Kent, Lancashire, Leicester, Lincoln, Merseyside*, Norfolk, Northampton, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, Nottingham, Oxford, Shropshire, Somerset, South Yorkshire*, Stafford, Suffolk, Surrey, Tyne and Wear*, Warwick, West Midlands*, West Sussex, West Yorkshire*, Wiltshire

Northern Ireland—26 districts; Antrim, Ards, Armagh, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Banbridge, Belfast, Carrickfergus, Castlereagh, Coleraine, Cookstown, Craigavon, Down, Dungannon, Fermanagh, Larne, Limavady, Lisburn, Londonderry, Magherafelt, Moyle, Newry and Mourne, Newtownabbey, North Down, Omagh, Strabane

Scotland—9 regions, 3 islands areas*; Borders, Central, Dumfries and Galloway, Fife, Grampian, Highland, Lothian, Orkney*, Shetland*, Strathclyde, Tayside, Western Isles*

Wales—8 counties; Clwyd, Dyfed, Gwent, Gwynedd, Mid Glamorgan, Powys, South Glamorgan, West Glamorgan

Independence: 1 January 1801, United Kingdom established

Constitution: unwritten; partly statutes, partly common law and practice

Dependent areas: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Hong Kong (scheduled to become a Special Administrative Region of China in 1997), Jersey, Isle of Man, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, St. Helena, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands

Legal system: common law tradition with early Roman and modern continental influences; no judicial review of Acts of Parliament; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

National holiday: Celebration of the Birthday of the Queen (second Saturday in June), 10 June 1989

Executive branch: monarch, prime minister, Cabinet

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of an upper house or House of Lords and a lower house or House of Commons

Judicial branch: House of Lords

Leaders: 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 Margaret THATCHER (since 4 May 1979); Deputy Prime Minister Geoffrey HOWE (since 24 July 1989)

Political parties and leaders: Conservative, Margaret Thatcher; Labour, Neil Kinnock; Social Democratic, David Owen; Social and Liberal Democratic Party, Jeremy (Paddy) Ashdown; Communist, Gordon McLennan; Scottish National, Gordon Wilson; Plaid Cymru, Dafydd Thomas; Ulster Unionist, James Molyneaux; Democratic Unionist, Ian Paisley; Social Democratic and Labour, John Hume; Provisional Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams; Alliance/Northern Ireland

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: House of Commons—last held 11 June 1987 (next to be held by June 1992); results—Conservative 43%, Labour 32%, Social and Liberal Democratic Party 23%, others 2%; seats—(650 total) Conservative 376, Labour 228, Social and Liberal Democratic Party 18, Ulster (Official) Unionist (Northern Ireland) 9, Social Democratic Party 4, Scottish National Party 4, Plaid Cymru (Welsh Nationalist) 3, Ulster Democratic Unionist (Northern Ireland) 3, Social Democratic and Labour (Northern Ireland) 3, Ulster Popular Unionist (Northern Ireland) 1, Sinn Fein (Northern Ireland) 1

Communists: 15,961

Other political or pressure groups: Trades Union Congress, Confederation of British Industry, National Farmers' Union, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

Member of: ADB, CCC, Colombo Plan, Council of Europe, DAC, EC, ESCAP, ESA, FAO, GATT, IAEA, IBRD, ICAC, ICAO, ICES, ICO, IDA, IDB—Inter-American Development Bank, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IHO, ILO, ILZSG, IMF, IMO, INTELSAT, INTERPOL, IOOC, IPU, IRC, ISO, ITC, ITU, IWC—International Whaling Commission, IWC—International Wheat Council, NATO, OECD, UN, UPU, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WSG

Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Sir Antony ACLAND; Chancery at 3100 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 462-1340; there are British Consulates General in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, and Consulates in Dallas, Miami, and Seattle; US—Ambassador Henry E. CATTO; Embassy at 24/31 Grosvenor Square, London, W.1A1AE, (mailing address is Box 40, FPO New York 09509); telephone [44](01) 499-9000; there are US Consulates General in Belfast and Edinburgh

Flag: blue with the red cross of St. George (patron saint of England) edged in white superimposed on the diagonal red cross of St. Patrick (patron saint of Ireland) which is superimposed on the diagonal white cross of St. Andrew (patron saint of Scotland); known as the Union Flag or Union Jack; the design and colors (especially the Blue Ensign) have been the basis for a number of other flags including dependencies, Commonwealth countries, and others


Overview: The UK is one of the world's great trading powers and financial centers, and its economy ranks among the four largest in Europe. The economy is essentially capitalistic with a generous admixture of social welfare programs and government ownership. Over the last decade the Thatcher government has halted the expansion of welfare measures and has promoted extensive reprivatization of the government economic sector. Agriculture is intensive, highly mechanized, and efficient by European standards, producing about 60% of food needs with only 1% of the labor force. Industry is a mixture of public and private enterprises, employing about 24% of the work force and generating 22% of GDP. The UK is an energy-rich nation with large coal, natural gas, and oil reserves; primary energy production accounts for 12% of GDP, one of the highest shares of any industrial nation. Following the recession of 1979-81, the economy has enjoyed the longest period of continuous economic growth it has had during the last 30 years. During the period 1982-89 real GDP grew by about 25%, while the inflation rate of 14% was nearly halved. Between 1986 and 1989 unemployment fell from 11% to about 6%. As a major trading nation, the UK will continue to be greatly affected by: world boom or recession; swings in the international oil market; productivity trends in domestic industry; and the terms on which the economic integration of Europe proceeds.

GDP: $818.0 billion, per capita $14,300; real growth rate 2.3% (1989 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 7.8% (1989)

Unemployment rate: 6.4% (1989)

Budget: revenues $348.7 billion; expenditures $327.8 billion, including capital expenditures of $42.0 billion (FY89)

Exports: $151.0 billion (f.o.b., 1989); commodities—manufactured goods, machinery, fuels, chemicals, semifinished goods, transport equipment; partners—EC 50.4% (FRG 11.7%, France 10.2%, Netherlands 6.8%), US 13.0%, Communist countries 2.3%

Imports: $189.2 billion (c.i.f., 1989); commodities—manufactured goods, machinery, semifinished goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods; partners—EC 52.5% (FRG 16.6%, France 8.8%, Netherlands 7.8%), US 10.2%, Communist countries 2.1%

External debt: $15.7 billion (1988)

Industrial production: growth rate 0.9% (1989)

Electricity: 98,000,000 kW capacity; 361,990 million kWh produced, 6,350 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: machinery and transportation equipment, metals, food processing, paper and paper products, textiles, chemicals, clothing, other consumer goods, motor vehicles, aircraft, shipbuilding, petroleum, coal

Agriculture: accounts for only 1.5% of GNP and 1% of labor force; highly mechanized and efficient farms; wide variety of crops and livestock products produced; about 60% self-sufficient in food and feed needs; fish catch of 665,000 metric tons (1987)

Aid: donor—ODA and OOF commitments (1970-87), $18.9 billion

Currency: British pound or pound sterling (plural—pounds); 1 British pound (£) = 100 pence

Exchange rates: British pounds (£) per US$1—0.6055 (January 1990), 0.6099 (1989) 0.5614 (1988), 0.6102 (1987), 0.6817 (1986), 0.7714 (1985)

Fiscal year: 1 April-31 March


Railroads: Great Britain 16,629 km total; British Railways (BR) operates 16,629 km 1.435-meter standard gauge (4,205 km electrified and 12,591 km double or multiple track); several additional small standard-gauge and narrow-gauge lines are privately owned and operated; Northern Ireland Railways (NIR) operates 332 km 1.600-meter gauge, 190 km double track

Highways: UK, 362,982 km total; Great Britain, 339,483 km paved (including 2,573 km limited-access divided highway); Northern Ireland, 23,499 km (22,907 paved, 592 km gravel)

Inland waterways: 2,291 total; British Waterways Board, 606 km; Port Authorities, 706 km; other, 979 km

Pipelines: 933 km crude oil, almost all insignificant; 2,993 km refined products; 12,800 km natural gas

Ports: London, Liverpool, Felixstowe, Tees and Hartlepool, Dover, Sullom Voe, Southampton

Merchant marine: 285 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 6,174,142 GRT/9,024,090 DWT; includes 7 passenger, 22 short-sea passenger, 44 cargo, 44 container, 21 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 9 refrigerated cargo, 1 vehicle carrier, 1 railcar carrier, 78 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 4 chemical tanker, 5 liquefied gas, 2 combination ore/oil, 1 specialized tanker, 45 bulk, 1 combination bulk

Civil air: 618 major transport aircraft

Airports: 522 total, 379 usable; 245 with permanent-surface runways; 1 with runways over 3,659 m; 37 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 132 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: modern, efficient domestic and international system; 30,200,000 telephones; excellent country-wide broadcast systems; stations—223 AM, 165 (396 relays) FM, 205 (3,210 relays) TV; 38 coaxial submarine cables; communication satellite earth stations operating in INTELSAT (7 Atlantic Ocean and 3 Indian Ocean), MARISAT, and EUTELSAT systems

Defense Forces

Branches: Royal Navy (includes Royal Marines), Army, Royal Air Force

Military manpower: males 15-49, 14,462,993; 12,180,580 fit for military service; no conscription

Defense expenditures: 4.3% of GDP, or $35 billion (1989 est.)