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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 Integrated Household Survey for the United Kingdom introduced a question on sexual orientation in 2009. The data and analysis are limited due to small sample size but provides an initial picture of the lesbian, gay and bisexual population in the United Kingdom.

  • Latest experimental statistics published from the Integrated Household Survey January - December 2014 shows that the number of people who self-identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual in Scotland was 1.1% (compared to 1.6% for the United Kingdom).

Source: Integrated Household Survey January - December 2014: Experimental Statistics


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 2014, 98.4% 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 1.0% compared to women at 0.6%.
  • Note that 0.6% of adults stated they refused or preferred not to answer the question, comparable to 0.6% in 2013.


Sexual orientation Male Female All
Heterosexual/Straight 98.1 98.6 98.4
Gay/Lesbian 1.0 0.6 0.8
Bisexual 0.2 0.2 0.2
Other 0.0 0.1 0.0
Refused 0.7 0.6 0.6
Dont know - - -
Total 100 100 100

Note: The sample size from the SHS is smaller than the 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 (p228) of the SHS 2014 annual report

Source: Scottish Household Survey (2014)


NRS Chart of Opposite and Same Sex Marriage and Civil Partnerships

Source: Scotland's Population 2015, Infographic Report


  • 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. In 2015, Following the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 coming into force on 16 December 2014, there were 1671  same sex marriages.

Source: Scotland's Population 2015 (The Registrar General's Annual Review of Demographic Trends)


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

Source: Scotland's 2011 Census (Table KS103SC, Release 2A)


  • In 2009-10 at United Kingdom level, similar proportions of heterosexual and bisexual respondents lived in households where one or more dependent children were present, but a lower percentage of gay or lesbian respondents lived in households where dependent children were present.
  • In 2009-10, 34% of heterosexual respondents and 29.8% of bisexual respondents lived in a household with at least one dependent child present compared to 8.1% of gay/lesbian respondents.

  • In 2009-10 at United Kingdom level, people who identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual were less likely to identify with a religion than people who identified as heterosexual or straight. One-third (34.5%) of lesbian, gay or bisexual respondents, said that they did not identify with a religion. This compares with one-fifth (20.5%) of heterosexual or straight respondents.

Source: Measuring Sexual Identity: An Evaluation Report (2010), Office for National Statistics


Sexual orientation by religion1, April 2009 to March 2010




No religion


Total (Thousands)


Heterosexual/Straight 79.5 20.5 45,378
Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual 65.5 34.5 683
Other 78.5 21.5 241
Don't Know/Refusal 80.6 19.4 1,525
No Response 78.3 21.7 307

1. Figures are for United Kingdom

2. The total number of eligible responders to this question was 235,220.

Source: Measuring Sexual Identity: An Evaluation Report (2010), Office for National Statistics


Useful Links

Sexual Orientation Page

Demographics Page

Publications and Outputs

Publications and Outputs

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

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



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 first results from the 2011 Census have been published. More detailed data will become available in stages throughout 2014.

Select below for further information on:


Future publications

Beyond 2011

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.

Sexual Identity UK, 2016 (October 2017)  Office of National Statistics report looking at how people in the UK identify their sexual orientation.  This includes breakdowns by age, ethnicity, socio-economic class, and region.





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