Another Bi Boost

The latest statistics from ONS once again show more people identifying as bisexual – and again it’s a generational shift with younger people less likely to identify as straight.

Emily Knipe, of the Population Statistics Division at the Office for National Statistics, says of the new figures: “In 2016, around 2% of the population identified themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB).

“This has increased from 1.7% in 2015 (a statistically significant increase). London had the largest proportion of the population who identified as LGB (2.7%), which could be associated with a relatively young and diverse population.”

In 2016, estimates from the Annual Population Survey (APS) showed that 93.4% of the UK population identified as heterosexual or straight and 2.0% of the population identified themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB). This comprised of:

  • 1.2% identifying as gay or lesbian
  • 0.8% identifying as bisexual

A further 0.5% of the population identified themselves as “Other”, which means that they did not consider themselves to fit into the heterosexual or straight, bisexual, gay or lesbian categories. A further 4.1% refused, or did not know how to identify themselves.

Previous figures had shown 0.6% were bi, which in turn was up from 0.5% on the previous sample.

Gender Divide

Been in bi spaces and noticed there seem to be more women there compared to lesbian and gay groups and events? These figures may have part of the explanation as to why.

Around 1.7% of males in the ONS survey identified themselves as gay or lesbian in 2016 compared with 0.7% of females.

However, 0.9% of females identified themselves as bisexual compared with just 0.6% of males.

Overall, a larger proportion of males (2.3%) identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) than females (1.6%), so “LGB” groups might be more male, but the skew tends the other way for bisexual people.

ONS figures like this do not go beyond binary gender identities.

Young and Queer – Young and Bi

4.1% of the population aged 16 to 24 identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB). This comprised of 1.7% identifying as gay or lesbian and 2.4% identifying as bisexual.

The 16 to 24 age group was the only age group to have a larger proportion identifying as bisexual compared with lesbian or gay.

Bi North of the Border

Scotland had the largest proportion of the population identifying as LGB, with 2.2%. This was made up of 1.2% identifying as gay or lesbian, and 1.0% as bisexual. Scotland had the largest proportion of the population identifying as bisexual compared with the other UK countries, but for the proportion identifying as gay or lesbian, England had the same proportion as Scotland, at 1.2%.

The proportion of the population indentifying as LGB in Scotland increased from 1.6% in 2015 to 2.2% in 2016.