Location, Location, Location: The United Kingdom is an island located on the western coast of mainland Europe just northwest of France. The country includes the regions of England, Scotland, Whales and Northern Ireland. The terrain consists mainly of rolling hills and low mountains.
Government: The United Kingdom is governed as a constitutional monarchy divided into Commonwealth Realms.
Size Matters: The total land area of the United Kingdom is 243,610 sq km, which is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Oregon and ranks as the 86th largest country in the world.
Cities: The national capital and largest city is London, which is unquestionably the largest city in the European Union and ranks as the 19th largest city in the world. Other major cities include Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool and Leeds.
Did You Know? The United Kingdom maintains control of fourteen overseas territories, which are remnants of the historic British Empire.
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Population: As of July 2009, the population of the United Kingdom was estimated at 61,113,205, thus standing as the third most populous country in the European Union and the 23rd most populous nation in the world.
Business Environment: The United Kingdom was ranked the 6th best country in the world for business in a 2009 Doingbusiness.com ranking.
Top Industries: In terms of paid jobs, the labor force in 2006 was divided between services (80.4%), industry (18.2%) and agriculture (1.4%).
Taxes: The United Kingdom sanctions a Corporate Income Tax of 28%; an Individual Income Tax of 0-40%; and a Value Added Tax of 15%.
Quality of Life: In a recent “Quality of Living Global City Ranking” by Mercer, London ranked 38th in the world, while Birmingham and Glasgow each ranked 45th in terms of city infrastructure.
Weather: The United Kingdom typically boasts a temperate climate with over half the year involving overcast skies.
K-12: In the Programme for International Student Assessment 2006 ranking of 59 developed countries, the United Kingdom’s education systems ranked 14th in science and 17th in reading.
College Education: According to US News and World Reports 2008 world college rankings, four of the United Kingdom’s universities rank in the top 10 worldwide, including the University of Cambridge (#3), the University of Oxford (#4), Imperial College London (#6) and University College London (#7).
In General: The United Kingdom boasts the third largest economy in the European Union and the sixth largest in the world in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It stands as a leading trading power and worldwide financial center.
Services: Dominated by financial services including banking and insurance, the United Kingdom’s service sector makes up the largest proportion of the country’s Gross Domestic Product and labor force. London rivals New York as the world’s financial capital, serving as a leading location for international business and commerce.
Industry: The United Kingdom maintains small coal reserves and diminishing supplies of oil and natural gas. Manufacturing remains a significant piece of the economy, focused around the production of transportation equipment such as automobiles and aerospace products along with a notable chemical sector.
Agriculture: The agriculture sector of the United Kingdom represents a minuscule portion of the country’s economy; the most significant products include cereals, potatoes, sheep and cattle.
A Closer Look: Major multi-national corporations located within the United Kingdom include BAE Systems, Rolls Royce and GloxoSmithKline.
Did you know? The English Football League system led by the Premiership is widely considered the most watched sporting league in the world.
Sources: In addition to specific citations noted in this “Career Information” section, supplementary source materials include: the CIA World Factbook, Worldwidetax.com and Wikipedia.com.