English Speaking Countries: Uk di Marilena Di Palma

- Population -


The UK population currently stands at around 60 million people. The majority of the population lives mostly in towns and cities, more precisely 4 out of 5 people live mainly in the area surrounding London, in the North West of England, in the Midlands and in the southern part of Wales. However the whole country is very densely populated, and it has been so since the early nineteenth century with the industrial revolution.

Immigration.Though the vast majority of the population has English origins, the country is characterised by the presence of various ethnic minorities. In fact from the 1950ís onwards Britain has seen the arrival of thousands and thousands immigrants from its former colonies of from those countries who were still part of the Commonwealth [I 1] , e. g. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, West Indies, etc. Other immigrants came from some European countries (e. g. Italy, Germany, Greece, etc.), but today there are a lot of people coming from China and from Eastern Europe, especially after the long period of war in the former Yugoslavia.

English81.5 %
Scottish9.6 %
Welsh3.7 %
Irish2.4 %
Ethnic groups2.8 %

Despite the fact that all these ethnic minorities are now well integrated in British society, most of them have brought and still preserve their culture and languages, so that virtually every community has its own newspapers, its festivals and places of worship (it is estimated that in Britain there are at least eight main religions), and its own food shops, which are appreciated by the English community as well, as shown by the presence of curry (an Indian spice) in almost every English house.

The relationship between the native population and these ethnic minorities have not always been easy and in the past there have been some episodes of racism which have almost disappeared now. However the relation with the Muslim minority has partially worsened, especially after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the USA and after the London blast [F1] [ES1] [I 1] in 2005. Nevertheless the majority of the population still sees these waves of immigration as an enrichment of the multicultural composition of the country.

How to become a British citizen.Since the new waves of immigration seem to be increasing, the British government is trying to adopt new measures of control as far as illegal immigration is concerned, but it is also trying to put restrictions on test citizenship applications [E2]. That is why they have recently introduced a test [E2] which every new applicant has to pass in order to become a British citizen, proving that he/she has a sufficient knowledge of the language and of the culture, habits and customs of the country they want to be part of. You can try to answer some of the questions in the mock test here.



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