History-making U.K. census data reveals LGBT+ populations for first time

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Gay pride, LGBTQ rainbow flags being waved in the air at a pride event

We are everywhere!


A history-making report as the first U.K.s census to ask people about their sexual orientation and gender identity has been revealed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Over 1.3 million people in England and Wales identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual, census data has revealed for the first time.


For people aged 16 and over, more than 1.5% – 748,000 – identify as gay or lesbian, and 624,000 (1.3%) as bisexual.

Some 165,000 people identify as “other” sexual orientations.

112,000 people identified as pansexual

28,000 people identified as ace 

While 262,000 people (0.5%) said their gender identity was different to their sex registered at birth.

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The census was collected in England and Wales (about 59.6 million people) on March 21, 2021, and is designed to give Government and other bodies a snapshot of the overall population.

The government aim is that the survey provides evidence about inequalities to tackle discrimination and improve decisions made about health care, education, employment, housing and social services for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

However, completing this section of the census was voluntary and only asked of people aged 16 years and over.

People were asked “Which of the following best describes your sexual orientation?”. The different sexual orientations that people could choose from included:

  • straight or heterosexual
  • gay or lesbian
  • bisexual
  • other sexual orientation

If they selected “Other sexual orientation”, they were asked to write in the sexual orientation with which they identified.

In total, 44.9 million people answered the question (92.5% of the population aged 16 years and over).

  • 43.4 million people (89.4% of the population aged 16 years and over) identified as straight or heterosexual

  • 748,000 (1.5%), described themselves as gay or lesbian

  • 624,000 (1.3%) described themselves as bisexual

  • 165,000 (0.3%) selected “Other sexual orientation”

The results on a chart:

ons uk census

Brighton and Hove was the local authority with the highest percentage (10.7%) of people identifying as “LGB+”, – lesbian, gay, bisexual or any non-heterosexual sexual orientation.

7 of the other local authorities in the top 10 were in London.

In Wales, Cardiff was the local authority with the biggest LGB+ population (5.3%).


Of the 262,000 people who said their gender identity was different from their sex registered at birth:

118,000 didn’t specify their identity
48,000 trans men
48,000 trans women
30,000 non-binary people

While thousands more used different terms to describe their gender.


London was the English region with the highest percentage of people who said their gender identity was different from their sex registered at birth (0.91%).

While the South West was the region with the lowest percentage (0.42%).

London also had higher proportions of transgender respondents, showing trans men (0.16%) and trans women (0.16%) when compared with the rest of England and Wales.


We. Are. Everywhere.