POPULATION AND DEMOGRAPHIC DEVELOPMENT
According to iamhigher, the population of Great Britain took place through successive immigrations, all from Europe. The most ancient traces (III millennium BC) of a stable occupation date back to the Neolithic populations that came from SW (builders of megalithic architectures), while from the SE come those agricultural people – the so-called Beakers – who introduced well-organized forms of exploitation of the soil. The testimonies of the Celts are more extensive and consistent, which have given an indelible substratum to the humanization of the British territory, as well as to English culture. The manifestations of Celtic civilizations, however, are found above all in Wales and in other parts of the western section of the island, the most mountainous, the most defended, a real “Celtic fringe” due to the rich presence of elements of the ancient culture that came from the continent.. The movement of the Celts towards this harsh region was due to the immigration of the Angles and the Saxons, which took place after the Romanization (among whose main effects was the wide diffusion of the Latin language), between the century. V and VI. These people, who gave the definitive mark to the British population, initially occupied the southern plains and the eastern front of the island, gradually driving the Celtic element back to the West. But it is in this same southern plain that since then the population has been concentrating, and this for obvious reasons, given the environmental conditions more favorable to agricultural exploitation. After the penetration of the Vikings, however, that, having arrived from Scandinavia, colonized the coast, there was the formation of new peripheral population areas, near the best river mouths, that is, where those large port cities that in the human geography of the island then arose or developed. from leading devices and which gave a new orientation to the British economy. However, this was for a long time mainly agricultural and only very late did mercantilism bring about profound transformations in the life and geography of the country. As for the data about the demographic consistency of the island, in the century. XVI the population of Wales and England was just 2.5 million; in the sec. XVIII however it had already doubled. The industrial revolution it was accompanied by profound transformations in the human geography of the country, both as regards the distribution of the population and as regards demographic developments. Since then the population has increased at a very high rate (until 1880 the birth rate remained at 35%) despite emigration and the high mortality caused by the poor conditions in which it lived in the suburbs (slums) the urban underclass, who already went to work in factories at a juvenile age, with lethal consequences for their own health; at the beginning of the century. XX the population was over 38 million residents, while in the first years of the third millennium the demographic growth was very close to zero, with a high presence of elderly people, a density of 264 residents / km² (one of the highest in ‘Europe) and an urbanization rate of 79.7% (2008), one of the highest in the world.
Emigration significantly weighed on the demographic developments of the twentieth century, but not to an exceptional extent, especially after the First World War. The phenomenon famously began again in the century. XVII, but at first it interested a few groups of people belonging to religious sects (the most famous puritans of the Mayflower) that the Protestant Reformation had marginalized; it became massive in the early nineteenth century. The causes were the same that motivated the great rush to the cities and that is the degradation of the traditional economy after the revolution induced by the Enclosures Acts., with the fencing of properties due to the formation of large estates and the consequent abandonment of arable crops in favor of grazing, which threw thousands of peasants into poverty. This also occurred in Ireland, where the old English landlords, the Landlords, they had embarked on a colonization that rooted more and more the English element and culture in the neighboring island. To these internal facts was added the economic and commercial expansion in overseas lands, from which the settlers soon began to export their products to the motherland (US grains, Australian and New Zealand frozen meats, etc.), with enormous damage to the country. British agriculture. The abandonment of the countryside was matched by the densification in industrial cities or in the better favored areas from an industrial point of view (mining areas, port cities, etc.). But of course there was always a surplus demographic that was partly absorbed by emigration. North America immediately welcomed the largest number of emigrants, who to a lesser extent and later also went to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. The great movement towards the United States began to decrease around 1914. However, since the early decades of the twentieth century there has been a significant return current, consisting especially after the Second World War, which saw the return home of many British from the United States. United States, Canada etc. It was accompanied by the immigration of Indians, Pakistanis and Africans from Commonwealth countries, driven both by political reasons (this is the case of the Indians of East Africa) and by the requests for unskilled labor. In the last decades of the twentieth century, migratory flows have been greatly attenuated: in particular, the number of emigrations has definitely reduced, while immigration has had a less constant trend. Today these immigrants especially populate the suburbs of London and other large cities and their integration represents a thorny problem.