Last Updated: February 2, 2022
Population has been the subject of many studies conducted in the UK and around the world. Population trends and UK population demographics provide valuable insight into the socio-economic conditions of the country and its future.
Amidst features of a population crash due to low birth rates, it is important to take stock of the latest statistics surrounding the population of the UK.
In this article, I’ll be covering all the important statistics surrounding the UK population.
Top 10 Statistics
- As of 2020, the population of the UK was estimated to be 67 million.
- The median age of the UK population currently stands at 40.5 years.
- The South-East is the most highly populated region in the UK.
- There are more women in the UK than men.
- The degree of urbanisation in the UK currently stands at 83.9%.
- In 2020, the birth rate in the UK was just 10.2 per 1000 people.
- In 2020, the number of live births in the UK stood at 681,560.
- The death rate in the UK in 2019 was 9 per 1000 people.
- London has a population of 9.3 million and is the largest urban agglomeration in the UK.
- The population of the UK has been growing at a rate of 0.6%.
UK Population Statistics
How many people live in the UK? As of 2020, the population of the UK was estimated to be 67 million
This makes the UK the 21st largest country in the world in terms of population. Some of the biggest countries by population in the world also include China, India, and the USA. The population density in the UK is around 281 per square kilometre, which is less dense than densely populated areas such as South-East Asia.
The population of England currently stands at 56 million, which makes up the majority of the UK.
Even though the population of the UK is low compared to other countries, it still manages to have the fifth-largest economy in the world, which means that it has a high per-capita income.
The UK adult population is about three-fourths of the total population.
The South-East is the most highly populated of UK regions
The South East is home to more than 9 million people, comprising a significant portion of the total population of the UK. The second most populated region in the country is — unsurprisingly — London. The city of London alone has a population of around 9 million people, which is slightly less than the South-East.
Other densely populated areas of the UK include the North-West and East England.
The total population of Scotland is just 5.5 million, while that of Wales is 3.1 million. In comparison, Northern Ireland houses more than 1.9 million people.
The UK population has been growing at a rate of 0.6%
The population of the UK over time has been largely steady and is growing at a very slow rate. Between mid-2020 and mid-2021, the UK growth rate was 0.4%.
In comparison, the population of the USA has been growing at a rate of 0.4% per year, while that of France has been growing at 0.2%. That shows that the UK population growth rate is similar to that of other Western developed nations.
As of 2020, the largest age group in the UK was between 50 and 54 years, comprising more than 3.8 million people
Age plays a major role when studying the population of a country. It is clear that the UK has an ageing population similar to countries like Japan, as shown by changes in demographics.
Other large age groups in the UK include the 55–59 years age group and the 30–34 age group.
The least dense age group in the UK unsurprisingly consists of people who are above 90 years old. There are only 500,000 such people in the UK.
What are the UK demographics by age? The median age of the UK population currently stands at 40.5 years
The median age of the UK population has been steadily increasing over the years due to the low birth rate. In 2000, the median age was just 37.6
This means that the average population of the UK is growing older every year, and there aren’t enough young people to offset this phenomenon.
Population experts believe that people need to have more children to keep the overall UK demography more stable and have more people of working age.
There are more women in the UK than men
In 2020, the UK had 33.94 million females and 33.15 million males. When compared to some other countries, the gender gap in the UK is quite slim, and it is in favour of females.
However, over the last 50 years, the number of males in the UK has grown while the number of females has fallen. Despite this trend, the number of females in the UK remains higher than the number of males.
Urbanisation in the UK
The degree of urbanisation in the UK currently stands at 83.9%
This means that 83.9% of the people in the UK currently reside in urban areas, while only 16.1% of the people reside in rural areas. The population density of rural areas in the UK is quite sparse compared to urban areas.
In 2010, the degree of urbanisation in the UK stood at just 81.3%. This shows that the population moves towards urban and away from rural areas.
London’s population density currently stands at 5,701 people per square kilometre
London is the most densely populated city in the UK by a significant margin. It is also one of the most densely populated urban areas in the world. This is mainly due to the fact that London is a global commercial and financial hub with a large number of people emigrating to the city every year.
The population in the UK is spread very unevenly. There are some rural areas in the UK that have a population density of less than 50 people per square kilometre. This is not surprising since rural areas tend to have far less density than urban areas, but the degree of the contrast in the UK is striking.
London has a population of 9.3 million and is the largest urban agglomeration in the UK
Only three cities in Europe have a larger population than London. These are Istanbul, Moscow, and Paris.
The second-largest city in the UK is Manchester, with a population of just 2.7 million. This shows the stark difference in the sizes of the UK’s largest city and its second-largest city.
Each of these cities also has very diverse UK ethnic demographics. For example, 37% of the people in London were not born in the UK.
Other highly populated cities in the UK include Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Portsmouth, and Liverpool — in that order.
Births and Deaths
In 2020, the birth rate in the UK was just 10.2%
The UK’s birth rate in 2020 was the lowest one since 1938. This may have been caused by family planning in the UK, which has seen fewer births per family.
The highest birth rate in the UK in the period from 1938 to 2020 was in 1946, when the birth rate was 21.2%. This may have been caused by the aftermath of World War II, during which people wanted to have more children.
In 2020, the number of live births in the UK stood at 681,560
This number is a decrease of 4.4% compared to the previous year when there were 712,680 births. It also marks the lowest number of live births since 2012.
In comparison, there were only 2,638 stillbirths in the UK in 2019. The stillbirth rate was approximately 3.9 stillbirths per 1000 births.
The fertility rate in the UK in 2020 stood at 1.65 births per woman
The fertility rate in the UK has been consistently dropping since 2009. In 2009, it was 1.89 births per woman.
The drop in fertility can be due to overarching social trends in the UK as more and more people use birth control and contraceptives.
In contrast, the fertility rate in the UK in 1963 was 2.9 births per woman. As is evident, the fertility rate in the UK has fallen sharply since then.
Fun fact: the most popular baby names in the UK are Olivia and Oliver, depending on the gender of the baby.
In England and Wales, the average age for women to have their first child was 28.9 years old in 2019
The age at which women have their first child in the UK has been steadily increasing over the past 30 years. In fact, in 1991, the average age was 27.7.
However, a study has shown that once women have their first child, successive children do not take that long.
Namely, the average age of women to have their fourth child was just 33.2.
In the week ending January 7th 2022, the number of deaths recorded in England and Wales was 12,262
This number was an increase of 3,785 compared to the last week of 2021. The rise in deaths has been partly attributed to the successive bank holidays that took place during the previous week.
Approximately 7.5% of the deaths registered during the first week of 2022 were caused by the spread of coronavirus. The pandemic has had a marked effect on the demographics of the UK.
The death rate in the UK in 2019 was 9 per 1000 people
The death rate in the UK has been steadily falling over the last 60 years. Data suggests that the death rate in the UK in 1970 was 11.5. Hence, the death rate has dropped significantly since then.
Possible reasons for the lower death rate are the reduced crime rates and better healthcare and medical facilities available in the UK.
Recent advances in geriatric care may have also played a part in decreasing the death rate in the UK.
In 2020, the life expectancy at birth in the UK was 79 years for males, and 82.9 years for females
Along with the falling death rate, the life expectancy of individuals in the UK has also been increasing. Data suggests that women live longer than men, not just in the UK but worldwide.
Due to deaths caused by the spread of the coronavirus, life expectancy data has not shown improvement over the last three years.
As of January 18, 2022, the total number of deaths caused by the coronavirus in the UK is 152,513
The first and second waves of the virus caused the highest number of deaths in the UK. In comparison, the third wave of the disease led by the Omicron variant has not been that damaging. This may partly be due to the less intense infections caused by the variant and the increasing number of vaccinated people in the UK.
Population statistics provide a lot of insight into the people of a country. As is evident, the people in the UK live in relatively less dense conditions, and their per-capita income is high. The quality of life in the UK has been increasing, as evidenced by growing life expectancy and a lower death rate (excluding the effect caused by the coronavirus).
Thanks to improving data collection and statistical analysis, we can gain a snapshot view of UK demographic statistics. I hope you enjoyed them and found all the information you were looking for