KNOWLEDGE BASE Population - Ethnicity - Language In The UK

The information on this page was current at the time it was published. Regulations, trends, statistics, and other information are constantly changing. While we strive to update our Knowledge Base, we strongly suggest you use these pages as a general guide and be sure to verify any regulations, statistics, guidelines, or other information that are important to your efforts.



April 11, 2019 UPDATE: The European Union has extended the UK's exit deadline to October 31, 2019. Should the British Parliament pass the withdrawal agreement negotiated with the bloc, then Brexit would take place on the first of the next month.


On March 29, 2017, UK Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50, which formally started the process whereby the UK will leave the European Union. Article 50 was just the beginning of the withdrawal process, as it allows the UK two years to negotiate its leave with the other EU member states. The original plan was for the UK to leave the EU on March 29, 2019. but the process has proved to be very complicated and dates and outcomes continue to shift. The EU has granted the UK an extension to April 12, 2019. We cannot predict what will happen between now and then, with options ranging from a new referendum on Brexit to a ‘hard exit’. We will update as more clarity is achieved.


Population - Ethnicity - Language In The UK


The United Kingdom's total population and broken out by country

As of mid-2014, the population in all of the UK was estimated at 64,596,752, with 50.8% being female and 49.2% being male. The population breakdown of the constituent countries were:

  • Scotland's population: 5,347,600 (the highest ever)

  • Wales' population: 3,092,036

  • Northern Ireland's population: 1,840,498

  • England's population: 54,316,618

Chart showing the UK population breakdown for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and England


Never refer to someone in the UK as English unless you are absolutely sure they are from England!  People from Scotland, Northern Ireland, or Wales will not appreciate being referred to as English!




Ethnicity in the United Kingdom

While the UK has a mix of ethnic groups and cultures, it is overwhelmingly white.  


Chart showing the UK's ethnic makeup


Language in the United Kingdom

The official language of the UK is English and there are few people as a percentage of its total who do not speak it. There are also recognized regional languages.

  • Scots (about 30% of the population of Scotland, or approximately 1.6M people)

  • Scottish Gaelic (about 60,000 in Scotland)

  • Welsh (about 20% of the population of Wales, or approximately 0.6M people)

  • Irish (about 10% of the population of Northern Ireland, or approximately 184,000 people)

  • Cornish (some 2,000 to 3,000 in Cornwall)

Source: The World Factbook 2012 estimates


And as this entertaining video  will show you, there are many accents across the United Kingdom.  


According to UK 2011 census data, less than a million people (864,000, or less than 2%) out of the total population speak English ‘not well’, or ‘not at all’.  


UK Resources

For a summary of UK population statistics: Statistical Bulletin: Annual Mid-year Population Estimates, 2014

UK Population analysis tools, providing a number of ways to analyze the information

UK 2011 Census Results

UK growth rate trends, average rates by region, and causes for changes, age distribution trends, including downloadable tables

Population information on Scotland from the National Records of Scotland

Population information on Wales from the Welsh Government

Population information on Northern Ireland from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency

The UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) infographic based on 2013 population information

UK employment rates, population, GDP, migration vs. other EU countries

World Factbook

UK population statistics from the Office for National Statistics

Office for National Statistics


KNOWLEDGE BASE Population - Ethnicity - Language In The UK