LIFE IN THE UK

A Guide for New Residents - 3rd Edition

 

LIFE IN THE UK – A Modern, Thriving Society – The UK today. (12)

Se vai aplicar para se tornar um cidadão Britânico ou se instalar permanentemente no Reino Unido, um dos processos que você vai ter que passar é pelo teste que avalia o seu conhecimento da vida e da cultura Britânica. Na nossa categoria LIFE IN THE UK você vai poder estudar os capítulos do livro onde você quiser usando o seu celular, tablet ou computador. Para seguir corretamente os post publicados basta checar no final de cada um deles a numeração, por exemplo: o primeiro post no final você verá (I), já para o segundo post você verá no final do título (II) e assim por diante. BOA SORTE e bom estudo!

The UK today

The UK today is a more diverse society than it was 100 years ago, in both ethnic and religious terms. Post-war immigration means that nearly 10% of the population has a parent or grandparent born outside the UK. The UK continues to be a multinational and multiracial society with a rich and varied culture. This section will tell you about the different parts of the UK and some of the important places. It will also explain some of the UK’s traditions and customs and some of the popular activities that take place.

The nations of the UK

The UK is located in the north-west of Europe. The longest distance on the mainland is from John O’Groats on the north coast of Scotland to Land’s End in the south-west corner of England. It is about 870 miles (approximately 1,400 kilometres).

Most people live in towns and cities but much of Britain is still countryside. Many people continue to visit the countryside for holidays and for leisure activities such as walking, camping and fishing.

UK currency

The currency in the UK is the pound sterling (symbol £). There are 100 pence in a pound. The denominations (values) of currency are: Coins: 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2 Notes: £5, £10, £20, £50.

Northern Ireland and Scotland have their own banknotes, which are valid everywhere in the UK. However, shops and businesses do not have to accept them.

Languages and dialects

There are many variations in language in the different parts of the UK. The English language has many accents and dialects. In Wales, many people speak Welsh – a completely different language from English – and it is taught in schools and universities. In Scotland, Gaelic (again, a different language) is spoken in some parts of the Highlands and Islands, and in Northern Ireland some people speak Irish Gaelic.

Population

The table below shows how the population of the UK has changed over time.

Population growth has been faster in more recent years. Migration into the UK and longer life expectancy have played a part in population growth.

The population is very unequally distributed over the four parts of the UK. England more or less consistently makes up 84% of the total population, Wales around 5%, Scotland just over 8%, and Northern Ireland less than 3%.

An ageing population

People in the UK are living longer than ever before. This is due to improved living standards and better health care. There are now a record number of people aged 85 and over. This has an impact on the cost of pensions and healthcare.

Ethnic diversity

The UK population is ethnically diverse and changing rapidly, especially in large cities such as London. It is not always easy to get an exact picture of the ethnic origin of all the population.

There are people in the UK with ethnic origins from all over the world. In surveys, the most common ethnic description chosen is white, which includes people of European, Australian, Canadian, New Zealand and American descent. Other significant groups are those of Asian, black and mixed descent.care.

An equal society

Within the UK, it is a legal requirement that men and women should not be discriminated against because of their gender or because the are, or are not, married. They have equal rights to work, own property, marry and divorce. If they are married, both parents are equally responsible for their children.

Women in Britain today make up about half of the workforce. On average, girls leave school with better qualifications than boys. More women than men study at university.

Employment opportunities for women are much greater than they were in the past. Women work in all sectors of the economy, and there are now more women in high-level positions than ever before, including senior mangers in traditionally male-dominated occupations. Alongside this, men now work in more varied jobs than they did in the past.

It is no longer expected that women should stay at home and not work. Women often continue to work after having children. In many families today, both partners work and both share responsibility for childcare and household chores.

Religion

The UK is historically a Christian country. In the 2009 Citizenship Survey, 70% of people identified themselves as Christian. Much smaller proportions identified themselves as Muslim (4%), Hindu (2%), Sikh (1%), Jewish or Buddhist (both less than 0.5%), and 2% of people followed another religion. There are religious buildings for other religions all over the UK. This includes Islamic mosques, Hindu temples, Jewish synagogues, Sikh gurdwaras and Buddhist temples. However, everyone has the legal right to choose their religion or to choose not to practise a religion. In the Citizenship Survey, 21% of people said that they had no religion.

Christian churches

In England, there is a constitutional link between Church and state. The official Church of the state is the Church of England (called the Anglican Church in other countries and the Episcopal Church in Scotland and the United States). It is a Protestant Church and has existed since the Reformation in the 1530s.

The monarch is the head of the Church of England. The spiritual leader of the Church of England is the Archbishop of Canterbury. The monarch has the right to select the Archbishop and other senior church officials, but usually, the choice is made by the Prime Minister and a committee appointed by the Church. Several Church of England bishops sit in the House of Lords.

In Scotland, the national Church is the Church of Scotland, which is a Presbyterian Church. It is governed by ministers and elders. The chairperson of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is the Moderator, who is appointed for one year only and often speaks on behalf of that Church.

There is no established Church in Wales or Northern Ireland.

Other Protestant Christian groups in the UK are Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians and Quakers. There are also other denominations of Christianity, the biggest of which is Roman Catholic.

Patron saints’ days

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each have a national saint, called a patron saint. Each saint has a special day:

• 1 March: St David’s Day, Wales • 17 March: St Patrick’s Day, Northern Ireland • 23 April: St George’s Day, England • 30 November: St Andrew’s Day, Scotland.

Only Scotland and Northern Ireland have their patron saint’s day as an official holiday (although in Scotland not all businesses and offices will close). Events are held across Scotland, Northern Ireland and the rest of the country, especially where there are a lot of people of Scottish, Northern Irish and Irish heritage.

While the patron saints’ days are no longer public holidays in England and Wales, they are still celebrated. Parades and small festivals are held all over the two countries.

Check that you understand

• The capital cities of the UK
• What languages other than English are spoken in particular parts of the UK
• How the population of the UK has changed
• That the UK is an equal society and ethnically diverse
• The currency of the UK
• The different religions that are practised in the UK
• That the Anglican Church, also known as the Church of England, is the Church of the state in England (the ‘established Church’)
• That other branches of the Christian Church also practise their faith in the UK without being linked to the state
• That other religions are practised in the UK
• About the patron saints

 Fonte – Dados dessa matéria foram retirados do livro  LIFE IN THE UNITED KINGDOM – A Guide for New Residents – 3rd Edition. Pages 71 – 79.

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LIFE IN THE UK