People and Culture overview of the UK

People and Culture overview of the UK

The UK has a very diverse and mixed society.

The traditional image that all “Brits” are cricket-playing, cucumber-sandwich, or fish and chip eating people with stiff upper lips (or posh) and cold is not at all true.

Over the last 50 or so years the UK cultural landscape has significantly changed, especially in the cities and even more so in London and has become more international and multicultural.

The 2011the most recent census recorded the population of England as 53.0 million, Scotland 5.3 million, Wales 3.0 million, and Northern Ireland 1.8 million.

In 2011, 87% of the population (48.6 million people) was born in the UK and 13% of the population (7.5 million people) was born outside of the UK.


The 2011 Census showed that almost half (46%, 3.4 million) of the foreign-born population identified with a White ethnic group, a third identified as Asian/Asian British (33%, 2.4 million) and 13% (992,000) identified with Black/African/Caribbean/Black British

Religious affiliations

The largest religion in the 2011 Census for England and Wales was Christianity (largely split between Catholic and Church of England and with 33.2 million people (59.3 per cent of the population). Muslims were the next largest religious group with 2.7 million people (4.8 per cent of the population).

More than half of the British public (53 per cent) say they are not at all religious – a figure that has increased by five percent since 2015 and by 19 percentage points since 1983, when just three in 10 people deemed themselves non-religious.

In addition to Christianity, the UK has large numbers of practicing members of other major world religions, as follows: Islam, Hindus, Sikhs, Judaism and Muslims.

Visit the National Statistics website for more information on religion in the UK.


The main language in the UK is, of course, English, which is spoken throughout the whole country. In Wales, some people still speak Welsh; however, since all Welsh people also speak English, you only need to speak English anywhere in the UK.

Aside from English, there is Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Lowland Scots, Cornish, Irish, British Sign Language.

For such a relatively small country, there are a lot of dialects in the UK, and some of them can be hard to understand, even for English people.


UK dialects and accents vary considerably across the UK and its often joked that many accents are almost impossible to understand by others, especially after a few drinks! J


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