Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland has lowest percentage of LGB people within UK

A rainbow flag is held aloft as the Pride in London parade makes its way through the streets of central, London.
A rainbow flag is held aloft as the Pride in London parade makes its way through the streets of central, London.

By Tony Horton

Northern Ireland has the lowest percentage of all UK countries identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB), new figures show.

Some 1.2% of the household population here identify as LGB, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures suggest.

The proportion of the UK population identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) has increased from 1.5% to 2% over a five-year period.

There were an estimated 1.1 million people aged 16 and over who identified as LGB in 2017.

Paula Guy, of the ONS' population statistics division, said: "We estimate that 4.2% of people aged 16 to 24 years identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual, a higher proportion than for other older age groups."

Young people could be more likely to identify as LGB because the sexual identities have become more socially acceptable over time and they are also more likely to explore their sexuality, the ONS suggested.

Of those who identified themselves as LGB, 69.4% had a marital status of single, meaning they have never married or entered into a civil partnership.

Ms Guy added: "This reflects the younger age structure of this population and that legal unions for same-sex couples are relatively new."

Men (2.3%) were more likely to identify as LGB than women (1.8%).

London is the English region where people are most likely to identify as LGB (2.6%), with the North East and the East of England the least likely (both 1.5%).

Across England 2.1% of people identified as LGB, compared to 2% in Wales, 1.9% in Scotland and 1.2% in Northern Ireland.

The proportion of those identifying as heterosexual or straight has decreased from 94.4% in 2012 to 93.2% in 2017.

The percentage of people who identified as "other", meaning they do not consider themselves to be heterosexual or straight, bisexual, gay or lesbian, was 0.6%.

A further 4.1% of people responding to the survey refused to reveal or did not know their sexual identity.

The ONS figures are estimates based on data from the Annual Population Survey.

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