A week after media reports that one-third of young people in Britain identify as gay or bisexual, official statistics released Wednesday showed the figure to be just 4.1 per cent in 2016.
In its latest study on sexual identity in the UK, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that whilst 16 to 24-year-olds are more likely to report themselves as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) than any other age group, there was no statistically significant rise in the figure from the previous year.
The group of people aged 16 to 24 who identified as LGB comprised of 1.5 per cent who said they are lesbian or gay, and 2.4 per cent professing to be bisexual.
“The proportion of the population who identified as LGB declined with each consecutive age group,” noted the ONS report, which showed the proportion of over 65s at just 0.7 per cent.
Another finding from this year’s data was that people belonging to “mixed or multiple ethnic groups” (4.3 per cent) were more than twice as likely to identify as LGB than white people (2 per cent), who were just over twice as likely as Asian (0.9 per cent) or black (0.9 per cent) people.
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The official data, which showed two per cent of the UK population overall identified themselves as LGB, comes in stark contrast to research conducted by Ipsos Mori for the BBC which reported that just 66 per cent of 16 to 22-year-olds say they are heterosexual.
Amongst this age group, 14 per cent reported they are “mostly attracted to the opposite sex”, and nine per cent said they are “equally attracted to both sexes”.
Three per cent said they were “only attracted to the same sex”, while a further three per cent said they were “mostly” attracted to the same sex.
The poll, which reported 88 per cent of 52 to 71-year-olds as only attracted to the opposite sex, also found that young people were much more focused on liberal social issues than older age groups.
Conducted as part of BBC Newsbeat’s Generation Misunderstood? programme, the study showed that whilst all age groups listed improving the NHS and preventing terrorism as critical issues to be addressed in Britain, under-22s were significantly more concerned than older generations about LGBT rights, gender equality, and racism.