Changes in the structure of the economy were accompanied by significant shifts in the structure of foreign trade. Up to the end of 1950s in the international specialization of the commodity exchange in Great Britain, the intersectoral direction prevailed. There were large differences in the structure of exports and imports: manufacturing products dominated in exports, while raw materials and foodstuffs dominated in imports. From the beginning 1960s intra-industry exchange is developing rapidly. In 1971, finished and semi-finished products accounted for 84% of merchandise exports. In connection with the increase in the export of North Sea oil, this share in 1970-beginning. 80s decreased, but by 2001 it again reached 84%. In the same year, machinery and vehicles accounted for 56% of exports. The export of products of the aerospace, chemical and electronic industries is growing. At the same time, the share of textile exports is decreasing. The involvement in the international circulation of electronic computing equipment is very high: approx. 70% of the products of the electronic industry. For export is about 70% of the products of the chemical industry, more than half of the products of instrumentation. Among the sectors of general engineering with a very high export orientation are tractor building, the production of textile and mining equipment. Great Britain occupies one of the first places in the world in terms of arms exports. From the beginning of 1960s importance in the import of food and raw materials is continuously falling. In 1971-2001, the share of foodstuffs decreased from 22 to 8%, and industrial raw materials – from 12 to 2%. At the same time, the share of finished products jumped from 7 to 60% (with semi-finished products – up to 85%).
At the same time, there were changes in the geographical distribution of foreign trade. In the beginning. 20th century Great Britain’s foreign trade was focused on its colonial possessions; back in 1950, 40% of this country’s exports went to dependent countries, from which approx. 40% of UK imports. To the beginning 21st century the situation has changed dramatically. In 2001, 85% of exports and 81% of imports were already in developed countries. In recent decades, there has been a “Europeanization” of UK trade relations: in 2001, 53% of its exports of goods and services (85% of exports of goods and 52% of imports) were accounted for by its EU partners.
Between 1981 and 2001, according to Countryaah, the population of the UK increased by only 6%, largely due to immigrants from developing countries and their children born in the UK. At the same time, emigration continued. According to official forecasts, by 2025 the country’s population will reach 65 million people. The average population density is one of the highest in the world – 242 people. per 1 km2.
Birth rate 1.3‰, mortality 10.3‰, infant mortality 5.5 people. per 1000 births (2002). Average life expectancy – 78.0 years, incl. men 75.2, women 80.8 years. In 2000, there were 838,000 more women than men in the country.
One of the most important problems of the country is the aging of the population. In 2002, persons aged 65 and over made up 15.8% of the population. The 2001 census showed that for the first time the number of people over 60 exceeded the number of children under the age of 15.
Still in the 19th century, the UK has reached a high degree of urbanization. In 1999 the urban population was 89%.
In cities with a population of St. 100 thousand people almost half of the country’s population lives. The largest cities in terms of the number of inhabitants: London, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Bristol, Coventry, Cardiff, Belfast, Nottingham. The UK is a multinational country. The vast majority of the population are indigenous people: English (81.5%), Scots (9.6%), Irish (2.4%), Welsh (1.9%). 1960-80s characterized by a large influx of immigrants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Caribbean countries, and the 1990s. – from African states (Kenya, Uganda, Malawi). People from these countries in 2001 accounted for 7.1% of the population.
Along with English ca. 26% of the population of Wales speak Welsh, 80 thousand people. in Scotland it is Gaelic. The population of the Channel Islands – Guernsey and Jersey – use French.
Religiously, Great Britain is predominantly a Protestant country. The Anglican Church, which enjoys the status of a state church in England, has approx. 34 million followers. A similar position in Scotland is occupied by the Presbyterian Church – 800 thousand people. There are also other Protestant groups: Methodists – 760 thousand, Baptists. Approx. 6 million Catholics. Numerous groups of Hindus, Buddhists, followers of Judaism also live. The Muslim community is growing rapidly, in 2002 there were 1.5 million adherents of Islam.