Two of the closest allies in the world today are the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain, with both countries considering their bilateral partnership to be the strongest of bonds. The British-American bloodline runs deep, with millions of Americans identifying themselves as having either English, Scottish, Welsh or Scotch-Irish ancestry. Given these close ties, we thought it would be fun to compare these two powerful nations, in this episode of The Infographics Show, the Average American vs. the Average Brit.

First of all, we should explain what the United Kingdom of Great Britain is, as it’s often an area of confusion. When we talk about the UK, we are referring to The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which is a sovereign state consisting of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The average Brit we are discussing today is someone from the UK.

In terms of ancestral relations, according to a Census Bureau American Community Survey, nearly 27,000,000 (26,923,091) people identified as being part English; over 5.5 million (5,706,263) said Scottish, about 5 million (5,102,858) said Scotch-Irish and nearly 2 million (1,888,383) said Welsh. Although Irish- and German-Americans make-up larger portions of the U.S. public, it’s thought there are a lot more Americans that have Brit-blood flowing through their veins but no longer consider themselves being anything other than a full-blooded American. With this in mind, we’ll start with some comparisons of a physical nature.

The average Brit stands just a fraction taller than the average American, with the BBC lately reporting that the average man in the UK is now 5 feet 10 inches (178cm) and the average woman is 5 feet 5 inches (164cm). American men average 5 feet 9 ½ inches (175.7cm) and American women 5 feet 3 ½ inches (161.8 cm). Both countries are considered to be not so well proportioned when compared to other more developed nations, with a new report from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation stating that the USA is in 18th place on the world’s most obese nations list.

Only Egypt was the other populous nation in the top twenty countries, which was filled mostly by countries in the South Pacific. The UK, however, might also need to get in shape, with reports stating that obesity is a “national tragedy” and that by 2025 the UK will be the fattest country in Europe. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest report, the average American male is now 195.7 pounds (88kgs) and the average woman is 168.5 pounds (76kgs). The average British man is 186.2 pounds (84.3kgs) and the average woman is 154 pounds (69.8kgs).

Does the fact both countries are perhaps on the heavy side influence life expectancy?

American men on average will live to 77.11 years and American women 81.94. Citizens of the United Kingdom can expect to clock-out at a similar age on average, with male life expectancy standing at 79.1 and female life expectancy 82.8. The median age, meaning half the country is older and half the country younger, is 37.8 in the USA for men and women and right on 40 in the UK.

Which country is making more babies at the moment?

Current statistics state that the U.S. and UK are similar here, with births per woman in America averaging 1.84 and in the UK 1.9. Marriage rates have decreased in many developed nations over the last few decades. According to the CDC, in 2015, 6.8 people per 1,000 of the total population tied the knot in the USA, while in the UK that number was 4.5 per 1,000. Around 42 percent of UK marriages end in divorce, with almost half of US marriages ending the same way.

On that sobering note, we’ll take a look at money matters.

In terms of industry, both nations are considered champions of the world, but according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the USA citizen grosses a higher salary than the average UK person. The average gross salary in the USA was the fifth highest in the world at $4,893 per month, while the UK sat in 14th place on the list with an average of $3,461 per month. In terms of cost of living, Americans might need the few extra dollars, with one report putting the USA in 18th place in the world on a cost of living index, and the UK in 29th place. We must also note that cost of living and wages can change dramatically from city to city. If we take a look at the Economist’s Big Mac Index, we find that the cost of a Big Mac in the US is $5.06, while the Brits only pay $3.73. At the same time, the index shows someone in London has to work on average one minute longer than someone in New York to buy the same burger.

At the high-end of the earnings scale, the U.S. is home to the richest man on the planet, Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates, whose fortune amounts to around $87 billion. The richest person in the UK is actually listed as two brothers, who are part of the Hinduja family. Their net worth is around $16.9 billion, according to Forbes. In total, there are 134 billionaires based in the UK, according to the Sunday Times, while the USA has the most billionaires in the world at 565.

What do Americans and Brits get for all their hard work?

Well, the Brits don’t work as hard according to one study that divided “the total number of hours actually worked by the average number of people in employment per year.” The USA was 16th on the list at 34.40 hours per week and the UK was 24th on the list at 32.25 hours per week. The Brits also get more time off, with workers by law given 5.6 weeks of paid vacation time per year. In the U.S there is no such law, and paid time off is an agreement made between the employer and the employee. The average paid days off in the U.S. is said to be about 10 days, with that number increasing with the number of years in a certain job. The UK has less public holidays, though, at 8 days, with the U.S. enjoying 10 national public holidays.

Americans may work harder, but they also seem to be getting more for their buck. While the British public have been dealing with drastically increasing property prices, they also live in very small abodes.

Studies have found that Britain’s houses on average are some of the smallest in Europe at around 818 sq ft (76 square meters). American citizens on average can enjoy much larger living areas with the average house size being around 2,160 sq feet (201 square meters). The U.S. also has more in terms of vehicle ownership. America is third on the list of number of vehicles owned per 1,000 people, at 797 – excluding motorcycles and anything else on two wheels. The UK lies in 34th place on the same list with 519 vehicles per 1,000 people.

Rising property prices, expensive cars, what does this mean in terms of borrowing money?

Household debt statistics, which is measured by all money owed to financial institutions whether it be for a house or a BMW, has both the UK and US in the top 10 ten countries of the world. For 2016 the UK was in 6th place on the household debt list and the U.S. not far behind in 7th place.

UK citizens looking for a higher education and a good start in life might also have to take on a lot of debt before they actually embark on a career.

While much of Europe enjoys a free or low-cost higher education, England is now said to be the most expensive place in the world to get a college degree. The latest reports state UK nationals attending an English university can expect annual tuition to be $11,715, compared to the $9,410 Americans pay on average per year.

On average, the class of 2016 in the USA owed around $37,172 in loans, while students graduating from a university in England could expect to owe as much as something in the region of $40-55,000. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have cheaper university tuition fees, or no tuition fee for Scottish people studying in Scotland. Students may still have to borrow to study, though, with a recent report by the Student Loans Company stating the average student debt in Northern Ireland and Scotland was around $26,000 and $15,000 respectively. The Welsh have part of their tuition fees paid for by the Welsh government, but students still rack-up debts on average of around $24,000.

UK citizens may take some comfort in matters of healthcare, with most costs covered by Britain’s National Health Service. Americans are not so fortunate, with an article in The Atlantic this year stating that more than a quarter of Americans said that someone in their household was struggling to pay off crushing medical debts.  

With that, we come to the end of today’s show. Head on over to the comments to let us know which country you’d rather live in, and why! And if you liked this video, be sure to check out our other video called Americans vs Europeans! Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!



  1. According to these figures then, per head of population, there are slightly more billionaires in the UK than the USA. Also taking into account the average lower cost of living in the UK, there is little difference in net disposable income.


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