Census reveals Brighton & Hove is same-sex capital of England and Wales

Graham Robson November 3, 2022

Brighton & Hove is the same-sex capital of England and Wales, according to the last census,  recording a larger proportion of people in same-sex marriages or civil partnerships than any other council area.

The latest census, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), is the first time a census of England and Wales has detailed the full number of married same-sex couples living in the two countries.

Across England and Wales there were about 402,000 people in legally formalised same-sex relationships in 2021. That compares with 104,942 at the time of the last census, in 2011, at which time same-sex marriages were not performed or recognised in the UK.

In Brighton & Hove there were 3,867 people – equivalent to 1.4% of the city’s population – in same-sex marriages or civil partnerships on census day, 21 March 2021. It was followed by three London boroughs: Lambeth, Islington (both 1% of people in same sex-marriages or civil partnerships) and Southwark (0.9%).

Same-sex marriage was legalised in Great Britain in 2014, and has since taken over from civil partnerships as the main way of legally acknowledging a same-sex union. A total of 133,618 people across England and Wales (0.1%) were in a same-sex civil partnership in 2021, less than half of the number (268,522 , 0.2%) in a same-sex marriage.

Jon Wroth-Smith, census deputy director, said: “We can see that the proportion of people in a marriage or civil partnership has declined, which follows the long-term trend of declining marriages. Conversely, the number of people who were never married or in a civil partnership has increased by almost 3 million.”