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England and Wales




Sexual orientation

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About this dataset

This dataset provides Census 2021 estimates that classify usual residents aged 16 years and over in England and Wales by sexual orientation. The estimates are as at Census Day, 21 March 2021.

Protecting personal data

Sometimes we need to make changes to data if it is possible to identify individuals. This is known as statistical disclosure control. In Census 2021, we:

  • Swapped records (targeted record swapping), for example, if a household was likely to be identified in datasets because it has unusual characteristics, we swapped the record with a similar one from a nearby small area. Very unusual households could be swapped with one in a nearby local authority.
  • Added small changes to some counts (cell key perturbation), for example, we might change a count of four to a three or a five. This might make small differences between tables depending on how the data are broken down when we applied perturbation.

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About the variables

Sexual orientation (9 categories)

Description: Classifies people according to the responses to the sexual orientation question. This question was voluntary and was only asked of people aged 16 years and over.

Comparability with 2011: Not comparable. This variable is new for Census 2021 and there is no comparability with the 2011 Census.


Release calendar

Release DateStatusReference Period
There have been no releases.

Revisions and corrections

Date of revisionDates affectedComment
2023-11-01 09:30:002021We have identified and corrected a production error relating to the estimate of those identifying in the "pansexual" category, which also affects the estimate for those in the "all other sexual orientations" category. The corrected figures show that for England and Wales: the estimate for "Pansexual" is 48,000 rather than 112,400 as originally published, the estimate for "All other sexual orientations" is 74,600 rather than 10,200 as originally published. Read more in our https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/culturalidentity/sexuality/methodologies/sexualorientationandgenderidentityqualityinformationforcensus2021[quality notice].
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