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Statistics in more details

People & Society montageSummary: Sexual Orientation Demographics

There is currently limited data and evidence collected on the experiences of gay, lesbian and bisexual people in Scotland.

 
Population estimates
  • The proportion of the population identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) in Scotland increased from 1.6% in 2015 to 2.2% in 2016. This was not a statistically significant increase.

  • In 2016, Scotland was the UK country with the largest proportion of the population identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB), with 2.2%. This comprised of 1.2% identifying as gay or lesbian, and 1.0% as bisexual.


Percentage of bisexual and gay or lesbian males and females

  • In the UK, around 1.7% of males identified themselves as gay or lesbian in 2016 compared with 0.7% of females. Conversely, 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%).

  • In 2016, 4.1% of the UK population aged 16 to 24 identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB). Older age groups were more likely to identify as heterosexual or straight in 2016. Only 0.7% of the population aged 65 and over identified as LGB, whereas for 25 to 34 year olds this was 2.9%.

External Source: Sexual identity, UK: 2016 (Published: October 2017, ONS)

This research has been carried out independently of the Scottish Government, the results are hosted on an external website and the findings do not necessarily represent the views of the Scottish Government or Scottish Ministers

 

A question on sexual orientation was introduced to the Scottish Household Survey (SHS) in 2011 as one of the Scottish Government’s core questions.

  • In 2016, 97.9% of adults identified themselves as heterosexual or straight.
  • A comparison by gender show there was a slightly larger proportion of men stating they were gay or lesbian at 1.4% compared to women at 0.9%.
  • Note that 0.4% of adults stated they refused or preferred not to answer the question, comparable to 0.7% in 2015.

Sexual orientation

Male

Female

All

Heterosexual/Straight

97.7

98.1

97.9

Gay/Lesbian

1.4

0.9

1.1

Bisexual

0.4

0.3

0.4

Other

0.1

0.2

0.1

Refused

0.4

0.5

0.4

Total

100

100

100

Base

4,400

5,240

9,640

Note: The sample size from the Scottish Household Survey (SHS) is smaller than the Integrated Household Survey (IHS) sample size. It is felt that the figures are likely to under-report the percentage of lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) people within society due to a number of reasons – these reasons are detailed in Annex 2: Glossary of the SHS 2016 annual report.

Source: Scottish Household Survey 2016: Demographics (Last updated: September 2017)

 
Marriages and civil partnerships

Sexual orientation

Source: Scotland's Population 2016, Infographic Report

  • In 2016, there were 998 same sex marriages in Scotland, following the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 coming into force on 16 December 2014. Of these 998 same-sex marriages, 173 (17%) involved couples changing their civil partnership to a marriage. This is a large, and expected, fall from 56% of same-sex marriages in 2015.
  • There were 70 civil partnerships registered in Scotland in 2016, 6 (9%) more than in 2015. The Civil Partnership Act 2004, which applies throughout the UK and came into force on 5 December 2005, allows same-sex couples to register their partnership.

Source: Scotland's Population 2016 - The Registrar General's Annual Review of Demographic Trends (Last updated: August 2017, NRS)

 
  • In 2011, there were 7,150 people in a registered same-sex civil partnership in Scotland.

Source: 2011 Census: Release 2A (Table KS103SC. Published: 2013, NRS)

 
Ethnicity
  • In 2016, the Annual Population Survey (APS) found that 4.3% of the UK population who described their ethnicity as “Mixed or multiple ethnic groups” identified themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB). More than half of them (2.4%) identified themselves as bisexual compared with those who identified as gay or lesbian (1.9%). This was the highest percentage seen among the different ethnic groups.

  • The proportion of the “Mixed or multiple ethnic group” population who identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) increased from 2.5% in 2015 to 4.3% in 2016, which was not a statistically significant increase.

Ethnicity by gay or lesbian and bisexual population, UK, 2016

Ethnicity by gay or lesbian and bisexual population, UK, 2016

Note: 0.1% of respondents to the Annual Population Survey did not have an ethnicity recorded, and of this percentage, 0.7% of those identified themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual.

External Source: Sexual identity, UK: 2016 (Published: October 2017, ONS)

This research has been carried out independently of the Scottish Government, the results are hosted on an external website and the findings do not necessarily represent the views of the Scottish Government or Scottish Ministers

 

Useful Links

Sexual Orientation Page

Demographics Page

Publications and Outputs

Publications and Outputs

NRS Scotland Statistics (NRS) A range of National statistics/Official publications are available on the National Records of Scotland website.

Sexual Orientation in Scotland 2017: A Summary of the Evidence Base (January 2017) This report draws together statistics and research on sexual orientation from a range of sources and presents these in a single bulletin, providing user-friendly infographics and commentary. It examines the differences between heterosexual adults in Scotland and those who self-identify their sexual orientation as lesbian, gay, bisexual or other in major household surveys.

Scottish Government Equality Outcomes: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Evidence Review (2013) A comprehensive review of available evidence in relation to sexual orientation and transgender people

Scotland's Population 2016: Infographic Report (NRS, August 2017) Scotland's Population 2016 - The Registrar General's Annual Review of Demographic Trends 162nd Edition

Data

Data

Scotland's Census

National Records of Scotland - More up to date information is available, as well as data tables including time series information, from the National Records of Scotland website.

Scotland's Census Results 2011 - Download data tables from the most recent census releases.

Future Developments

Future Developments

The main set of statistical outputs from Scotland’s Census 2011 have now been published and we are working through the requests received for commissioned outputs. For further information on submitting a request, visit the Commissioned Outputs page.

Planning has begun for Scotland’s Census 2021 and will build on the success of the census in 2011.

Select below for further information on:

Census

Future publications

External Links

External Links

Please note that you will leave the Scottish Government web site by clicking on any of the following links, and that the Scottish Government and its staff are not responsible for content external to this web site. The research below has been carried out independently of the Scottish Government and the findings do not necessarily represent the views of the Scottish Government or Scottish Ministers

External Publications and Outputs

Sexual identity, UK: 2016 (ONS, October 2017) Experimental statistics produced by the Office for National Statistics on sexual orientation within the UK

Measuring Sexual Identity: An Evaluation Report (ONS, 2010) An Office for National Statistics evaluation based on the Integrated Household Survey (IHS) experimental data, collected between April 2009 - March 2010.

Contacts

Contacts

Demographics

National Records of Scotland Customer Services: Statisticscustomerservices@nrscotland.gov.uk