1.5% Britons Are Gay, Lesbian Or Bisexual – Survey

Just one in 100 people in the UK say they are gay or lesbian, the first ever survey of British sexual identity has revealed.

A further one in every 200 people are bisexual, according to the data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). More than 480,000 consider themselves to be gay or lesbian and a further 245,000 say they are bisexual.

The data revealed men were twice as likely as women to describe themselves as gay or lesbian while London was revealed to have the highest numbers polled and Northern Ireland the lowest.

The information collected as part of the new Integrated Household Survey (IHS) means that nearly three-quarters of a million UK adults say they are gay, lesbian or bisexual. The IHS is the largest social survey ever produced by the ONS and contains information provided by nearly 450,000 people – the biggest pool of UK social data after the Census.

The research showed that 95 per cent said they were heterosexual, 1 per cent gay or lesbian, 0.5 per cent bisexual and 0.5 per cent other. Nearly 4 per cent of those asked refused to answer, said they did not know or described themselves as ‘other’.

The figures are well short of previous estimates used by the government and gay rights charity Stonewall which have put the gay population at between 6 and 7 per cent – which works out at 3.6 million people.

The research carried out between April 2009 and March 2010 and comprises the results of six ONS surveys. Respondents were asked whether they would describe themselves as heterosexual/straight, gay/lesbian, bisexual or other.

Nearly all replied, with the vast majority (95 per cent) saying they were heterosexual. One in every 200 chose ‘other’ and just under 3 per cent said ‘don’t know’ or refused to answer.

The question about sexual identity was added to the survey last year to provide a fuller picture of British society and to help public sector organisations to monitor their responsibility to provide equal opportunities.

The survey also found seven in 10 (71 per cent) people in the UK identified with the Christian religion, nearly nine out of 10 (89 per cent) belonged to the white ethnic group, and four in five men (80 per cent) and 78 per cent of women considered themselves to be in good health.

All IHS statistics are considered experimental and are not yet submitted for assessment to the UK Statistics Authority.

ONS hopes the survey will become accepted as a national statistic by the authority in 2012.


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