UK population explained: How many people live in the UK?

The United Kingdom, one of the most diverse nations in the world, boasts a rich culture and hertiage alongside a booming population.

A recent breakdown of the latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the World Population Review show just how many people are living in the UK.

How many people live in the UK?

The population of the UK is 66,436,000, according to the most recent statistics released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) relating to mid-2018.

The World Population Review estimates the UK's current population in August 2020 is 67,905,431.

This makes us the 21st most populated nation in the world.

China is the most populated with more than 1.4billion, India second with 1.3billion and the United States some way behind in third with 331.1million.

Britain’s population is currently rising at an annual rate of 0.6 per cent, which is slower than any time since March 2004.

The main cause of this is international migration and the population is projected to reach 72.9 million by 2041, according to the ONS.

At the time of the last UK Census in 2011, the median age in the UK was 39.

This figure differs by ethnicity group. The ‘white’ group has the highest median age of 41, and the ‘mixed’ group had the lowest, at 18 years.

29 per cent of the population are aged between 18 and 39-years-old, 27 per cent are aged between 40 and 59. 22 per cent are over 60 and 21 per cent are below the age of 18.

What are the different ethnicities that live in the UK?

Whilst discovering how many people live in the UK, the census also asks questions relating to ethnicity.

The majority of the UK population describe their ethnic group as "white", but over the years the majority has been falling – from 94.1 per cent in 1991 to 86 per cent in 2011.

That figure equates to 48.2 million people.

The ethnic group of 'white' includes those from an English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, or British background – and furthermore it also includes those of Gypsy or Irish Traveller heritage, or any other White background.

  • The second most populous group in the UK was Asian at 7.5 per cent (5,092,907).
  • Black, African, Caribbean or Black British with 3.3 per cent 2,240,879.
  • Fourth was mixed or multiple ethnicities at 2.2 per cent (1,493,919).

London is the most ethnically diverse area in the country, and Wales is the least – according to the 2011 census.

The census showed that, in Wales, 93.2 per cent of the population classed themselves as White. 2.4 per cent classed themselves as Other White.

As a result, just 3.8 per cent of Welsh residents appeared in other categories.
In London, however, 44.9 per cent were White British, and 37 per cent were born outside the UK.

Over 300 different languages are spoken in the capital.

Which parts of the UK are the most densely populated?

When considering how many people live in the UK, it's important to look at where people are located as well as population density.

For example, whether people are evenly spread out, or concentrated in smaller areas.

  • London is the most populated area of the UK with 7,556,900 residents.
  • Birmingham is the second most populous city with 984,333 people (this represents just over 15 per cent of the capital's population).
  • Liverpool with 864,122 is the third most populous city.
  • Nottingham is fourth with 729,977.
  • Sheffield comes fifth with 685,368.

Manchester does not fall into the top five cities in terms of size, as most statistical sources only look at formal city boundaries.

Greater Manchester spreads into other town boundaries, which would push it up the list, if included.

A government study into the population change between 2001 to 2015 found that 17 per cent ( 11,543,923), lived in rural parts of the country.

In addition, a further 1.1 per cent (746,959) lived in 'settlements in a sparse setting'.

Furthermore, of those living in the countryside, less than 50 per cent are below the age of 45.

Cities are the most populated areas. Therefore, population density (the amount of people in a square mile), is as expected, unevenly spread:

  • In London there are 5,700 people per square kilometre.
  • In some rural areas there are less than 50 people per square kilometre.
  • Overall population density in the UK is 259 people per square kilometre.

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