The United Kingdom (official name United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) consists of four countries united under one monarch and government. The countries are England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Each have a distinct culture and feel of their own with some in Northern Ireland wishing to split from the United Kingdom and join the Republic of Ireland, with which the UK shares its only land border.
England has traditionally been the dominant nation within the UK has over 80 percent of the share of the total population. People in Scotland and Wales have proud national traditions and languages. Scottish Gaelic is mainly spoken in the north west of the country, by a small proportion of the population. Welsh has a much bigger number of people speaking the language and all public signs in Wales are displayed in both Welsh and English.
The United Kingdom has formed over many centuries through old alliances, conquests, and through royal marriages. The full title of this country is 'the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland':
* Great Britain is made up of England, Scotland and Wales.
* The United Kingdom (UK) is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
'Britain' is used informally, usually meaning the United Kingdom.
The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not part of the UK. The geographical term 'British Isles' covers the UK, all of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
In July 2011, the UK was home to 62,698,362 people. The average age was 40 years old, an increase on 1971 when it was 34.1 years. The main change over the last four decades is that the proportion of the UK population aged under 16 in mid-2008 was 19 per cent (11.5 million children) having fallen from 25 per cent (14.3 million children) in 1971.At the most recent census in 2001, the total population of the United Kingdom was 58,789,194, the third largest in the European Union and the twenty-first largest in the world. The UK has accounted for around 1 percent of the world's population since the mid-1970s. There are many online sources of information relating to historic documents and the cultural heritage of the United Kingdom.