People of the UK


The UK's major trading partners

What is trade?

Trade is the movement of goods and services and involves exports and imports.

The UK has a long tradition of trading with other countries and much trade involved ships and coastal settlements developed into ports. Cotton, grains, and products from the tropics (coffee, spice) were imported and in exchange, the UK exported manufactured products.

Who are the UK's trading partners?

The UK's most important trading partners are EU members, America, China, former colonies, and the Commonwealth members.

Exports and imports should balance; if imports exceed exports a country has a trade defecit, which is expensive for the country.

Imports to the UK

The UK's manufactured products are cars, clothing, and electrical items.

The UK is a relatively wealthy economy so expensive items have a large market. Petroleum (products) provide fuel and raw materials for the chemical industry and items imported from China are cheaper than alternatives made in the UK, so there's a ready market for them.

Exports from the UK

While America is the main export destination the UK's exports go to Europe, EU countries, China, and UAE.

The fastest growing exports in 2014 were gems, coins, and precious metals. The manufactured sector increased in exports.

With increasing globalisation, the world becomes more interdependent and the UK has global links through trade, culture, transport, and electronic communication.

Diversity in the UK


The patterns of employment have changed a great deal.

Women are encouraged to work and follow careers. Flexible working hours and help with childcare is offered. The government supports childcare to enable to women to return to work if they wish to do so. Places now have creche and childcare facilities on site.

More and more people are working part-time or on a self-employed basis. People have better work-life balance or work from home due to IT and broadband connections.

Many people operate flexible working hours due to mobile phones.

As the UK has de-industrialised, jobs in manufacturing have been replaced by employment in the services or tertiary sector. A new quaternary sector has developed.

Average income

There're huge disparities in incomes in the UK - the average is £26,500. 

Disposable income is the money people must live on once their taxes, pensions, and rent/mortgages have been paid. There are huge variations in areas like London.

Life expectancy

The average life expectancy is 81 years, rising consistently as healthcare, diets, and standards of living have improved. It is not equal across the UK.

Educational attainment

This has slightly increased in 2015 and this has wide regional variations: the highest values are in the richest boroughs in London and the lowest are in towns in northern England. There is a cleear link between poverty and educational attainment. The most deprived areas with low incomes and high unemployment have the lowest levels of achievement.


Ethnicity is about groups of people sharing common roots based on culture, religion, or nationality. They tend to be immigrants with foreign nationalities and from


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