*Easy **Fair ***Challenging ****Challenging and Research
Exercise Sheet 2
The Changing Face of the UK
Let’s start with some good news – people live longer nowadays. The bad news for the government is that it has to pay out more in pensions. On average, people live for 78 years (75 for men and 80 for women) – in 1911 it was only 52! Is it because we have a healthy lifestyle? Maybe. More people see smoking as a health hazard; only a quarter of the population smokes compared to half 30 years ago. People eat more fruit and less fat but about three-quarters of men and two-thirds of women between 55 and 64 are seriously overweight.
More people work than ever before- 79% of men and 69% of women have jobs. And people earn three times more in real terms than 50 years ago – but the difference between rich and poor people is bigger. The most important growth area for jobs is in computers. Young people certainly see qualifications as important to get a good job. The percentage of 16-18 year-olds in education went up from 35% to 55% in the 1990s. And did you know, the British work the longest hours per week in Europe? That’s an average of 45.7 hours for men and 40.7 hours for women.
Traditional family and home life are changing. In fact, nearly a third of the population lives alone and there are fewer marriages nowadays. Each year, almost a quarter of a million babies are born in England and Wales to parents who are not married to each other – that’s 40% of the total. Women are having children later and 29 is now the average age for having a baby. Young people are staying with their parents longer than before, mainly because it is expensive to get a place to live.
The proverb “Early to bed, early to rise” seems a good description of the British lifestyle. On weekdays, most people get up before 8 a.m. (77%) and go to bed before midnight (81%). Main meal times are from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. (breakfast), at 1 p.m. (lunch) and between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. (dinner).
What do people do in the evenings? Are the Brits a nation of couch potatoes? On average, they watch TV for 25 hours a week. Children and teenagers watch less TV than 25-44 year-olds but spend five times longer on computers, mainly playing computer games. The biggest Internet users are the 16-24 year-olds – on average, they are online for four minutes a day.
1- Read the text and explain the words in bold. **
a) Pensions: _________________________________________________________________
b) On average: _______________________________________________________________
c) Overweight: _______________________________________________________________