13 March 2023

Census reveals constituencies with highest proportion of LGB+ residents

13 March 2023

Areas of England and Wales with the highest proportion of LGB+ residents are represented in parliament almost exclusively by Labour MPs, new census data shows.

Only three of the top 50 constituencies with the greatest percentage of people identifying as gay or lesbian, bisexual or another sexual orientation (LGB+) are represented by a Conservative: the Cities of London & Westminster (in 27th place with 6.8%); Lincoln (35th place, 5.9%) and Bournemouth West (43rd place, 5.5%).

By contrast 42 of the 50 are Labour-held seats, including eight of the top 10 and two of the top three: Brighton Kemptown (in second place on 10.3%) and Vauxhall (third place, 10.0%).

The figures have been compiled by the PA news agency using data for England and Wales from the 2021 census, which was the first of its kind to ask people to record their sexual orientation.

The constituency with the highest proportion of LGB+ residents is Brighton Pavilion, at 11.9%, represented since 2010 by the Green Party’s only MP, Caroline Lucas.

The remainder of top 50 is made up of three seats held by independents – all former Labour MPs – and one Liberal Democrat.

Many constituencies at the top of the table are based in big cities or areas with large student populations, such as Manchester, Leeds, Cardiff and Bristol, while 23 of the top 50 are in London.

The findings chime with previous census analysis by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which showed that local authorities with a relatively high proportion of people aged 16 to 24 who identified as LGB+ tended to have one or more universities.

The lower end of the table is more dominated by rural and less built-up areas, though the bottom 50 includes some London seats currently held by Labour such as Dagenham & Rainham and Ilford North, as well as the Buckinghamshire seat of Chesham & Amersham which the Lib Dems won from the Conservatives in a 2021 by-election.

There is a coincidental pattern in the top and bottom sections of the list, with Conservative MPs representing exactly one-fifth (20) of the 100 seats with the highest proportion of LGB+ residents, but four-fifths (80) of the 100 seats with the lowest proportion.

But although the vast majority of seats towards the end of the list are currently held by Tories, including 39 of the bottom 50, three of the bottom five are held by Labour: Birmingham Hodge Hill, Luton North and Sefton Central.

Rayleigh & Wickford in Essex, a Conservative-held seat, has the lowest proportion of all 573 constituencies in England and Wales, at 1.5%.

Census data for England and Wales is being published in stages by the ONS, with constituency-level figures released in the past few weeks.

The data shows a similar trend for the seats with the highest proportion of residents who told the census their gender identity is different from their sex registered at birth, with Labour seats accounting for 42 of the top 50, including nine of the top 10 and the entire top five.

Birmingham Ladywood tops this list, with 1.64% of residents saying their gender identity is different to that at birth, followed by East Ham and Tottenham (both 1.57%) then Edmonton (1.51%) and Brent Central (1.47%).

These figures are shown to two decimal places because differences between the percentages are so small.

Some 46 of the bottom seats 50 are held by Tories, with the lowest figure for Derbyshire Dales (0.19%) followed by Rayleigh & Wickford and South West Devon (both 0.21%).

Cities and student-heavy areas once again dominate the constituencies towards the top of the list, though only one seat appears in both the LGB+ and gender top 10s: Bermondsey & Old Southwark in south London, held by independent (former Labour) MP Neil Coyle.

Every political party should consider how our community, and our loved ones, will consider parties' commitments to an LGBTQ+ inclusive society at the ballot box.

Responding to the findings, Robbie de Santos, director of communications at the LGBT charity Stonewall, said: “The 2021 census showed what many of us already knew: LGBTQ+ people live in every part of England and Wales. We are a part of every community and always have been.

“The census also showed that the proportion of people willing to identify as LGBTQ+ increases among younger generations, who tend to live in more urban areas.

“However, LGBTQ+ people live in every constituency, and there are many more people who love us and care about us right across the country. Every political party and prospective parliamentary candidate should consider how our community, and our loved ones, will consider parties’ commitments to an LGBTQ+ inclusive society at the ballot box.”

The census took place in England and Wales on March 21 2021 and included for the first time a question about sexual orientation, which was voluntary and asked only of people aged 16 and over.

Respondents could choose between straight or heterosexual; gay or lesbian; bisexual; and “other sexual orientation”, which also invited people to write in the orientation with which they identified.

Some 44.9 million people (92.5% of the population aged 16 years and over) answered the question.

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