The first ever official count of the gay population has found that only one in 100 adults is homosexual.

The figure explodes the assumption  –  long promoted by social experts and lobbyists  –  that the number is up to ten times higher than this at one in ten.

And in further evidence that Britain remains a traditional society, 71% told the same survey that they still regarded themselves as Christian.

The Office for National Statistics said 1.3 per cent of men are gay and 0.6 per cent of women are lesbian.

Tying the knot: Chris Bryant MP and Jared Cranney are among 1.3% of men who are gay. The ONS figures explode the myth that one in ten are homosexual

Tying the knot: Chris Bryant MP, right, and Jared Cranney are among the 1.3% of men who are gay. ONS figures explode the myth that one in ten are homosexual

Another 0.5 per cent consider themselves bisexual, according to the figures gathered from questions put to nearly 250,000 – the biggest survey possible outside a full national census.

This means that, in total, around 1.5 per cent of the population is either homosexual or bisexual.

The number is far lower than the estimate used as a basis for the distribution of millions of pounds in public money to sexual equality causes.


The estimate of homosexual numbers was drawn from a new ONS survey, called the Integrated Household Survey.

It was compiled by putting new questions to individuals who already take part in six existing large-scale surveys.

As a result the ONS has managed to draw answers from a large number.

In total, the new Integrated Household Survey can cover 450,000, hundreds of times the size of databases commonly used in research.

The questions on sexuality were put to 247,623, of whom 238,206 provided an answer.

By contrast, the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles which last tried to make a count of the gay population in 2000, used a database of 12,000.

The ONS survey put questions on sexuality both face-to-face and by telephone.

When the government framed civil partnership laws, it accepted an assumption that at least five per cent of the population was homosexual.

Since then thousands of same sex couples have tied the knot.

Among them were Labour’s Chris Bryant who earlier this year became the first homosexual MP to enter into a civil partnership in the Houses of Parliament, ‘marrying’ partner Jared Cranney.

British surveys carried out by sex researchers have suggested between six and ten per cent of men have had homosexual experiences.

In 2003 the government published and endorsed estimates by the Stonewall lobby group which said that between five and seven per cent of the adult population was gay.

The ONS said yesterday that the new figures were the first on ‘self-perceived sexual identity’ to be made public.

The findings also showed that 94.8 per cent of adults call themselves heterosexual or straight.

Another 0.5 per cent described themselves as other than straight, gay or bisexual, and a similar proportion declined to reply to the question.

The gay population, while small, is highly educated and economically successful, the survey showed.

Gays and lesbians are twice as likely as heterosexuals to have university degrees or the equivalent.

Nearly half of all gays and lesbians work in managerial or professional grade jobs, compared with fewer than one in three heterosexuals.

The figures brought calls from religious groups for less political attention and public money to be spent on meeting the demands for legal protection for homosexuals.

Mike Judge of the Christian Institute think tank said: ‘A large amount of public money has been spent on the basis of higher figures, which have turned out to be a lie.’

Ben Summerskill of Stonewall said some of those polled may have been reticent to answer questions on their homosexuality.

He added: ‘We would expect to see these figures increase over time as people’s confidence in the survey grows.’


More than seven out of ten Britons say they are Christians, according to an official count.

The high figure will be seen as a firm endorsement for those who argue the British public remain wedded to traditional religious values despite the fall in church attendances.

It comes in the week after the Pope’s state visit which led to a battle of words between those who believe Christianity has a vital role in national life and the opposing ‘aggressive atheists’ who believe religion should be regarded as the private pursuit of a minority.

Surprisingly popular: Cheers as Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Birmingham last week

Surprisingly popular: Cheers for pope after his arrival in Birmingham last week

The analysis produced by the Office for National Statistics suggested that a big majority of the population still believe in Christianity.

Based on nearly 450,000 replies to a series of Government-backed surveys, it found that 71.4 per cent of the UK adult population call themselves Christians.

They dwarfed the numbers of atheists and secularists. Just over one in five people, 20.5 per cent, said they had no religion.

The analysis from the new Integrated Household Survey, which is produced from answers to the same questions put in six different established surveys, put the Muslim proportion of the population at 4.2 per cent, just under one in 20.

It said 1.5 per cent are Hindu, 0.7 per cent Sikh, 0.6 per cent Jewish, 0.4 per cent Buddhist, and 1.1 per cent say they follow another religion.

In Slough, the town with the highest proportion of religious people, 93 per cent of the population say they are believers in one faith or another.

The lowest level of religious belief was found in Brighton, where only 58 per cent say they have a religion.

Calls for religion to be pushed out of the mainstream of public life came from a number of prominent figures in advance of the Pope’s visit.

Several critics argued that fewer than one in ten people in Britain go to church, and therefore Christianity should be considered as no more than the private concern of a small minority.

However such arguments – and calls led by comedian Stephen Fry for the Pope’s tour to be relegated from a state visit to a mere private trip – became muted in the face of Benedict’s clear popularity.

The Pope argued strongly for religion to be a major factor in public life, and for an end to attempts to censor Christian festivals such as Christmas

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