Six years ago it was estimated the UK's LGB community was 3.5 million.
Over 480,000 (one per cent) of the UK’s adult population consider themselves to be gay or lesbian with a further 245,000 (0.5 per cent) to be bisexual, according to data published for the first time today by the Office for National Statistics.So, why have we shrunk?
The data has been collected as part of the new Integrated Household Survey (IHS) which is the largest social survey ever produced by the ONS. The IHS contains information provided by nearly 450,000 individual respondents - the biggest pool of UK social data after the Census. The survey is based on a core suite of questions from six current household surveys and includes a question on self-perceived sexual identity.
The question was asked by providing the respondent with a showcard containing four options Heterosexual/Straight, Gay/lesbian, Bisexual or Other. They were then asked “Which of these options best describes how you think of yourself?” The question was asked to respondents aged 16 years and over, 96 per cent of whom provided a valid response.
The IHS data indicates that
• 95 per cent of adults identify themselves as heterosexual/’straight’
• 1 per cent of adults identify themselves as gay or lesbian
• 0.5 per cent of adults identified themselves as bisexual
• 0.5 per cent as ‘other’
• just under 3 per cent of adults stated ‘Don’t know’ or refused the question
• fewer than 1 per cent of respondents provided no response to the question.
The highest proportion of adults who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual were in London with the lowest found in Northern Ireland.
The sexual identity question was developed and tested on a number of ONS surveys in 2008 and was added on the IHS in 2009. The data have been collected to provide accurate statistics to underpin the equality monitoring responsibilities of public sector organisations and help give a fuller picture of equality in British society.
Well, how would you answer when a stranger knocks on your door, identifies themselves and asks if you will take place in the survey:
The question was asked by providing the respondent with a showcard containing four options Heterosexual/Straight, Gay/lesbian, Bisexual or Other. They were then asked “Which of these options best describes how you think of yourself?” The question was asked to respondents aged 16 years and over
Other interesting statistics to bear in mind however:
- gay dating website Gaydar has 1.5m UK profiles, most of them men
- gay dating website GRINDR has over 1m registered UK users
within hours of the ONS publishing its findings last week, calls had emerged from religious groups for less political attention and public money to be spent on meeting the demands of gay people. Right-wing newspapers talked of the figures "exploding the myth" that as many as one person in 10 was gay.However, the ONS survey did show that gay people are far more likely to be successful professionally and to be better educated.