The United Kingdom has experienced successive waves of migration. The Great Famine in Ireland, then part of the United Kingdom, resulted in perhaps a million people migrating to Great Britain. Throughout the 19th century a small population of German immigrants built up, numbering 28,644 in England and Wales in 1861. London held around half of this population, and other small communities existed in Manchester, Bradford and elsewhere. The German immigrant community was the largest group until 1891, when it became second to Russian Jews. England has had small Jewish communities for many centuries, subject to occasional expulsions, but British Jews numbered fewer than 10,000 at the start of the 19th century. After 1881, Russian Jews suffered bitter persecutions and some had 2,000,000 left the Russian Empire (which included parts of modern-day Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Latvia and Lithuania) by 1914. Around 120,000 settled permanently in Britain, becoming the largest ethnic minority from outside the British Isles; this population had increased to 370,000 by 1938. Unable to return to Poland at the end of the Second World War, over 120,000 Polish veterans remained in the UK permanently. After the Second World War, there was significant immigration from the colonies and newly independent former colonies, many from the Caribbean and Indian subcontinent, partly as a legacy of empire and partly driven by labour shortages. In 1841, 0.25 per cent of the population of England and Wales was born in a foreign country, increasing to 1.5 per cent by 1901, 2.6 per cent by 1931, and 4.4 per cent in 1951.
Major scientific discoveries from the 18th century include hydrogen by Henry Cavendish; from the 20th century penicillin by Alexander Fleming, and the structure of DNA, by Francis Crick and others. Famous British engineers and inventors of the Industrial Revolution include James Watt, George Stephenson, Richard Arkwright, Robert Stephenson and Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Other major engineering projects and applications by people from the UK include the steam locomotive, developed by Richard Trevithick and Andrew Vivian; from the 19th century the electric motor by Michael Faraday, the first computer designed by Charles Babbage, the first commercial electrical telegraph by William Fothergill Cooke and Charles Wheatstone, the incandescent light bulb by Joseph Swan, and the first practical telephone, patented by Alexander Graham Bell; and in the 20th century the world's first working television system by John Logie Baird and others, the jet engine by Frank Whittle, the basis of the modern computer by Alan Turing, and the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee.More Info
The UK has a partially regulated market economy. Based on market exchange rates, the UK is today the fifth-largest economy in the world and the second-largest in Europe after Germany. HM Treasury, led by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is responsible for developing and executing the government's public finance policy and economic policy. The Bank of England is the UK's central bank and is responsible for issuing notes and coins in the nation's currency, the pound sterling. Banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland retain the right to issue their own notes, subject to retaining enough Bank of England notes in reserve to cover their issue. The pound sterling is the world's third-largest reserve currency (after the US dollar and the euro). Since 1997 the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, headed by the Governor of the Bank of England, has been responsible for setting interest rates at the level necessary to achieve the overall inflation target for the economy that is set by the Chancellor each year.More Info
The UK has a history of non-white immigration with Liverpool having the oldest Black population in the country dating back to at least the 1730s during the period of the African slave trade. During this period it is estimated the Afro-Caribbean population of Great Britain was 10,000 to 15,000 which later declined due to the abolition of slavery. The UK also has the oldest Chinese community in Europe, dating to the arrival of Chinese seamen in the 19th century. In 1950 there were probably fewer than 20,000 non-white residents in Britain, almost all born overseas. In 1951 there were an estimated 94,500 people living in Britain who had been born in South Asia, China, Africa and the Caribbean, just under 0.2 per cent of the UK population. By 1961 this number had more than quadrupled to 384,000, just over 0.7 per cent of the United Kingdom population.More Info
In a 2016 survey conducted by BSA (British Social Attitudes) on religious affiliation; 53 per cent of respondents indicated 'no religion', while 41 per cent indicated they were Christians, followed by 6 per cent who affiliated with other religions (e.g. Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, etc.). Among Christians, adherents to the Church of England constituted 15 per cent, Roman Catholic Church 9 per cent, and other Christians (including Presbyterians, Methodists, other Protestants, as well as Eastern Orthodox), 17 per cent. 71 per cent of young people aged 18––24 said they had no religion.More Info
Since the 1980s, UK economic inequality, like Canada, Australia and the United States, has grown faster than in other developed countries. The poverty line in the UK is commonly defined as being 60 per cent of the median household income. The Office for National Statistics has estimated that in 2011, 14 million people were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, and that one person in 20 (5.1 per cent) was experiencing "severe material depression", up from 3 million people in 1977. Although the UK does not have an official poverty measure, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Social Metrics Commission estimate, based on government data, that there are 14 million people in poverty in the UK. 1.5 million people experienced destitution in 2017. In 2018, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights visited the UK and found that government policies and cuts to social support are "entrenching high levels of poverty and inflicting unnecessary misery in one of the richest countries in the world." His final 2019 report found that the UK government was doubling down on policies that have "led to the systematic immiseration of millions across Great Britain" and that sustained and widespread cuts to social support "amount to retrogressive measures in clear violation of the United Kingdom’s human rights obligations."More Info
We don't show ads. Help us keep it that way.