New data released by the Office for National Statistics has shown that 3.1% of the UK population aged 16 years and over identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) in 2020, an increase from 2.7% in 2019 and almost double the percentage from 2014 (1.6%).
The release provides ‘experimental statistics’ on sexual orientation in the UK in 2020 by region, sex, age, marital or legal partnership status, ethnic group and socio-economic classification, using data from the Annual Population Survey (APS), which collects information on sexual identity from the household population aged 16 years and over in the UK.
- The proportion of the UK population aged 16 years and over identifying as heterosexual or straight was 93.6% in 2020. There has been a decreasing trend since the series began in 2014.
- An estimated 3.1% of the UK population aged 16 years and over identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) in 2020, an increase from 2.7% in 2019 and almost double the percentage from 2014 (1.6%).
- The proportion of men in the UK identifying as LGB increased from 1.9% to 3.4% between 2014 and 2020. The proportion of women identifying as LGB has risen from 1.4% to 2.8% over the same period.
- People aged 16 to 24 years continue to be the most likely to identify as LGB in 2020 (8.0%) reflecting an increasing trend for this age group since 2014. This breaks down to 2.7% identifying as gay or lesbian, and 5.3% identifying as bisexual.
- In 2020, women (1.6%) were more likely than men (0.9%) to identify as bisexual but were less likely to identify as gay or lesbian (1.1% compared with 2.5%). These differences between men and women are more pronounced in the younger age groups.
- Among those identifying as LGB in 2020, almost three-quarters (72.5%) had never been married or in a civil partnership, while just under one-quarter were married or in a civil partnership (23.7%). This may reflect the younger age structure of the LGB population and that the legislation for same-sex civil partnerships and same-sex marriage is relatively recent.
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