There are 1.7 million lesbians, gays and bisexuals over-16 in the UK

Editorial credit: Iryna Kalamurza /

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%).

But according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics, the UK population is still overwhelmingly heterosexual with 93.6% of over 16s identifying as “heterosexual” or “straight” in 2020.

The figures show the proportion of men in the UK identifying as LGB increased from 1.9% to 3.4% between 2014 and 2020; and the proportion of women identifying as LGB rose from 1.4% to 2.8% over the same period.

People aged 16 to 24 years continued 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.

Meanwhile, white people over 16 were more likely (3.8%) to identify as LGB or “other” compared to Asians (2.4%) or Black/African/Caribbean (2.8%).

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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