Thursday, 3 October 2013

Gay Britain: What The Statistics Don't Say

Gay Britain: what do the statistics say?

How many people in the UK are gay, lesbian or bisexual? The Office for National Statistics reckons it's 1.5% while the Kinsey report says it's 10%. Who's right?

The Guardian [Graphic from The Sun].

Here we go again.
It's still probably to get a reliable figure on th LGBT population through polling.

So here's another way of working it out...

The equation’s quite simple: the number of gay and bisexual men living in the UK who’ve had a positive HIV test is 26,400 (HPA, 2004 figures) and the percentage of gay and bisexual men who’ve tested positive, according to the last Sigma survey, is 7.2%. This gives us a figure of 377,520 gay and bisexual men (14.3 x 26,400). As the UK adult male population is 23.4 million (2001 Census), this gives us a percentage of the adult male population who are gay or bisexual of 1.62% (“Bisexual” here basically means actively bisexual, rather than theoretical. Calculating the number of lesbians through HIV data is impossible).

Ford Hickson of Project Sigma thinks such a triangulation “adds up”, and calculated a similar figure himself. Although he stresses that the percentage of men who said they’d tested positive in the Sigma survey is probably an overestimate; “We think gay men with HIV are more likely than those without HIV to take part in surveys like Sigma's, partly out of altruism, but also because it’s a gay community survey and positive men are at the heart of the gay scene.” He believes the figure for gay and bisexual men living with diagnosed HIV is between 4% and 5%, with 4% meaning a higher number of 660,000 gay and bisexual men in the UK, or 2.82% of the adult male population. These figures are far less than has been conventionally thought, but come close to the findings of both the NATSAL surveys. So, could it be that we’re only 1.5%-3%, or between one in 66 or 33? Are there really only about 350,000–700,000 gay and bisexual men in the UK? It could be an underestimate, but this year’s Sigma survey will provide an opportunity to compare it with another – and arguably more precise - triangulation, as it asks how many men have entered Civil Partnerships. Ford Hickson says that results in so far appear to confirm a figure of around 2.6%.


ONS Survey: Note the age discrepancy, though the peak is still low...
PS The above comes from an article I wrote for Gay Times eight years ago and said they should press release it.
"We can't - it contradicts everything we're saying!"
ie lying that there are 2million gay men with plenty handbag so please advertise with us.

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