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Country in Focus

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

  • Capital:London
  • Population:63.23 million (WB, 2012)
  • Languages:English
  • Head of State:Queen Elizabeth II

Country Data

UK is considered one of the first industrialized countries in the world. It is a key player in developing parliamentary democracy and advancing literature and science. UK’s economy has been one of the largest in the world and is one of the great powers whose influences stretch from culture to politics. A permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since 1946, the country has been a member of European Union apart from other international economic and political organizations....


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

243,610 sq km

Temperate; moderated by prevailing southwest winds over the North
Atlantic Current; more than one-half of the days are overcast

Mosty rugged hills and low mountains; level to rolling plains in east and southeast

Briton(s), British (collective plural)

63.23 million (wb, 2012)

Constitutional monarchy and Commonwealth realm


GDP (current US$)
$2.472 trillion (WB, 2012)

GDP growth (annual %):   N/A

GNI per capita (current US$) 
$38,670 (WB, 2012)


With paved runways: 271
Wth unpaved runways: 189
Total: 460 (2013)

Total: 394,428 km


Crude oil
Production: 1.009 million bbl/day (2012 est.)
Exports: 740,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Imports:  965,400 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Proved reserves:  3.122 billion bbl (1 January 2013 es)

Refined petroleum products
Production: 1.549 million bbl/day (2010 est.)
Consumption: 1.608 million bbl/day (2011 est.)
Exports:  679,700 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Imports: 680,400 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Natural gas
Production:  40.99 billion cu m (2012 est.)
Consumption:   82.21 billion cu m (2011 est.)
Exports : 11.97 billion cu m (2012 est.)
Proved reserves:  246 billion cu m (1 January 2013 es)


Main lines in use: 33.01 million (2012)
Telephones mobile cellular : 82.109 million (2012)


Military branches    
Army, Royal Navy (includes Royal Marines), Royal Air Force (2013)
Military service age and obligation   

16-33 years of age (officers 17-28) for voluntary military service (with parental consent under 18); no conscription; women serve in military services, but are excluded from ground combat positions and some naval postings; as of October 2009, women comprised 12.1% of officers and 9% of enlisted personnel in the regular forces; must be citizen of the UK, Commonwealth, or Republic of Ireland; reservists serve a minimum of 3 years, to age 45 or 55; 17 years 6 months of age for voluntary military service by Nepalese citizens in the Brigade of Gurkhas; 16-34 years of age for voluntary military service by Papua New Guinean citizens (2012)
Manpower available for military service   
Males age 16-49: 14,856,917
Females age 16-49: 14,307,316 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service   

Males age 16-49: 12,255,452
Females age 16-49: 11,779,679 (2010 est.)


International Disputes    
In 2002, Gibraltar residents voted overwhelmingly by referendum to reject any "shared sovereignty" arrangement between the UK and Spain. The Government of Gibraltar insisted on equal participation in talks between the two countries. Spain disapproved of UK plans to grant Gibraltar greater autonomy, while Mauritius and Seychelles claim the Chagos Archipelago (British Indian Ocean Territory). In 2001, the former inhabitants of the archipelago, evicted  in 1967 - 1973, were granted U.K. citizenship and the right of return, followed by Orders in Council in 2004 that banned rehabitation, a High Court ruling reversed the ban, a Court of Appeal refusal to hear the case, and a Law Lords' decision in 2008 denied the right of return. In addition, the United Kingdom created the world's largest marine protection area around the Chagos islands prohibiting the extraction of any natural resources therein. The UK also rejects sovereignty talks requested by Argentina, which still claims the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The territorial claim in Antarctica (British Antarctic Territory) overlaps Argentine claim and partially overlaps Chilean claim.
Refugees and internally displaced persons   
Refugee population by country of origin: 15,132 (Somalia); 12,155 (Zimbabwe); 11,428 (Iran); 9,901 (Eritrea); 9,842 (Afghanistan); 5,752 (Iraq) (2012)
Stateless persons: 205 (2012)
Illicit drugs   
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
Complied by Gulf News Archives
Sources: The World Fact Book, World Bank