The 70 years of reign of the queen in 10 charts


Queen Elizabeth II was the longest-serving monarch in British history. His long reign coincided with fundamental changes in the economy, politics and society of the United Kingdom.

Here, the Financial Times data team examines the past seventy years in a series of charts.

The UK’s population grew by around a third during the Queen’s reign, from 50.5 million in 1952 to 67.5 million today. But the reasons for the change have evolved over the period. The first decade saw the postwar “baby boom,” which was tempered by the advent of the birth control pill in the 1960s and the increased participation of women in the labor force.

During the 1950s and 1960s, immigration from the Commonwealth, particularly from the Caribbean and the Indian subcontinent, was counterbalanced by Britons moving abroad.

However, net migration rose sharply after the millennium as new members joined the EU, encouraging waves of immigration producing a much more ethnically diverse country than in 1952. About 14% of the population current were born abroad.

You see a snapshot of an interactive chart. This is probably because you are offline or JavaScript is disabled in your browser.


Social norms have undergone a huge transformation under the Queen. Family structures are no longer as rigid as they once were, partly reflecting the waning influence of religion.

Legislation in the 1960s and early 1970s legalized abortion and homosexuality and made divorce much easier. Divorced and single-parent families were socially stigmatized in 1952 but are commonplace today.

Last year, for the first time, a majority of children were born to unmarried parents. Same-sex civil partnerships were permitted, initially in England and Wales, from 2004 and marriages from 2013

Bar chart of the share of women in degrees awarded by UK universities (%) showing the release of higher education

One of the greatest social changes during his reign was in the economic activity of women. Female workers increased during both World Wars, replacing men in the armed forces, but in peacetime many industries, especially mining and manufacturing, were almost exclusively male.

The proportion of women in the labor force has increased by a third over the past fifty years, partly due to improved contraception, but also to the shift of the economy from heavy industry to services.

This development can be seen in higher education, which is vital for a modern economy. Female graduates were once rare, but now make up the majority of first degrees awarded.

You see a snapshot of an interactive chart. This is probably because you are offline or JavaScript is disabled in your browser.


In 1952, the UK was still the world’s third-largest economy, behind superpowers the United States and the Soviet Union, and became the world’s third-largest nuclear power by the end of that year.

Today, the UK ranks eighth among the ten largest economies in terms of purchasing power parities. Even in purely monetary terms, the economy of India, a former British colony, is expected to surpass that of the UK in size this year.

You see a snapshot of an interactive chart. This is probably because you are offline or JavaScript is disabled in your browser.


The early years of the Queen’s reign were characterized by a booming economy and broad party consensus on economic policy. Governments, both Conservative and Labor, supported taxation to fund the welfare state. Large parts of industry were state-owned.

This consensus disappeared in the 1970s when inflation rose – peaking at 27% in mid-1975 – and the first serious recession since the war saw the return of mass unemployment.

After Margaret Thatcher’s government from 1979 to 1990, a new consensus emerged, on low taxation and spending, and market-centric solutions to economic problems

The Covid pandemic and energy price shock from the war in Ukraine have posed severe tests for the government, with double-digit inflation and recession expected next year

You see a snapshot of an interactive chart. This is probably because you are offline or JavaScript is disabled in your browser.


Dean Acheson, former US Secretary of State, said in 1962 that Britain had “lost an empire but has yet to find a role”. The problem is clearly illustrated by the changing trade structure of the UK.

In the early 1950s, trade was still concentrated in the former colonies. Since joining the EEC in 1973, it has been increasingly dominated by European neighbours. Relations with Europe have been a major issue in British politics, culminating in the 2016 Brexit vote and the country’s eventual departure from the EU.

You see a snapshot of an interactive chart. This is probably because you are offline or JavaScript is disabled in your browser.


Many aspects of the economy and society since the 1950s have shown a decline in collective supply and identification, replaced by an individualism defined by ownership.

The transport sector has long been dominated by private cars. In housing, the Thatcher government’s attempt to create ‘property democracy’ and the consequent sale of council-owned housing has boosted the proportion of owner-occupiers.

These changes were not without problems. Governments of all shades have had to deal with the impact of widespread car ownership on the environment and the impact of house prices on consumer confidence and, therefore, growth. economic

You see a snapshot of an interactive chart. This is probably because you are offline or JavaScript is disabled in your browser.


Average wages in the UK generally rose above inflation for most of the period. But there was a sharp break in this trend in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Unions, weakened by the reforms of the Thatcher government in the 1980s and declining membership, found themselves unable to raise wages. With the return of high inflation in 2022, union activism has reappeared.

You see a snapshot of an interactive chart. This is probably because you are offline or JavaScript is disabled in your browser.


The late queen received fifteen different prime ministers during her seventy years on the throne. The first, Sir Winston Churchill was born in 1874, the last, Liz Truss, more than a century later in 1975. The Conservative Party was in power for two-thirds of his reign, including five years as a dominant partner coalition with the Liberal Democrats. .

You see a snapshot of an interactive chart. This is probably because you are offline or JavaScript is disabled in your browser.


Old political identities crumbled during his reign. The Conservative and Labor parties – with largely class-based allegiances – won 97% of the popular vote in the 1951 general election. The Labor government won 48.8% of the vote – and lost.

Voters are now much more likely to support other parties. Between a quarter and a third of the electorate in every election since 1997, except in 2017, when Labor and the Conservatives won over 40%.

In 2015, the nationalist SNP won over 50% of the popular vote in Scotland and 56 of 59 seats. The last party to win a majority of Scottish votes was the Conservatives in 1955.

Previous Meeting the charging needs of electric bus fleets
Next Shie participates in a pilot test of sustainable mobility with renewable hydrogen in the port of La Coruña