One in 14 young people in England and Wales identify as LGB+, census shows

Local areas with the highest proportion tend to have one or more universities.

25 January 2023

Nearly one in 14 young people in England and Wales identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or another minority sexual orientation (LGB+), more than twice the level for the overall population, the 2021 census shows.

There are sharp variations across the country, with some local areas recording as many as one in six 16-24 year-olds identifying as LGB+.

Young adults are also the most likely age group to say their gender identity is different from their sex registered at birth, with one in 100 identifying as such.

The census took place in England and Wales on March 21 2021 and its findings are being released in stages by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

(PA Graphics)

The latest data shows that 6.9% of 16 to 24-year-olds identify as LGB+, the highest proportion of any age group and more than twice the figure for the total population (3.2%).

The proportion identifying as LGB+ drops for each successive age group, with 5.6% for 25-34 year-olds and 3.5% for 35-44 year-olds, then 2.4% (people aged 45-54), 1.6% (55-64), 0.8% (65-74) and 0.4% (75 and over).

But while in most age groups a greater percentage of people identify as gay or lesbian than bisexual, the opposite is true for 16-24 year-olds, with 4.0% identifying as bisexual compared with 2.1% as gay or lesbian.

The census suggests there is a slightly higher proportion of LGB+ males in England (3.0%) than Wales (2.7%), while for females the figure is similar (3.3%).

“Local authorities with a relatively high proportion of people aged 16 to 24 who identified as LGB+ tended to have one or more universities,” the ONS said.

Top of the list is Ceredigion in west Wales, where 15.8% of 16-24 year-olds identify as LGB+.

This is followed by Brighton & Hove (15.6%), Norwich (14.8%), Cambridge (14.6%), Lincoln (14.4%) and York (14.3%).

The lowest percentages are for Redbridge in London and Slough in Berkshire (both 2.9%), followed by the London boroughs of Barking & Dagenham (3.1%), Harrow (3.3%) and Enfield (3.3%).

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