census data 2021

A huge step for LGBTQ+ visibility – the first UK census to gather data on the LGBTQ+ community!


For the first time in history, the UK 2021 census included questions about sexuality and gender identity.

How helpful is it and what do we hope this will mean for the future?

gender and sexuality included in census:

This morning, Friday 6th January, the 2021 Census data on sexuality and gender identity was published. This is the first time sexuality and gender identity was included in the Census – this is a huge step to improving the visibility of LGBTQ+ people and will also help organisations like akt target our services and identify where they are needed.

Census data is vitally important for an organisation like akt, it helps us to better tailor our services towards the specific needs of LGBTQ+ young people. It’s not just charities like us that will benefit; Census data will help people better understand the relationship between LGBTQ+ people and social issues like employment and housing.

Although this is broadly a step in the right direction, young LGBTQ+ people could be left out of official statistics if they were not the head of the household that filled in the census form at the time.

Research shows that LGBTQ+ people are disproportionately impacted by homelessness. akt’s own research found that 24% of young people experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ+. However, LGBTQ+ young people and LGBTQ+ people in general, often remain ‘hidden’ and undercounted within official homelessness data.

According to akt’s research from 2021, only a third (33%) of LGBTQ+ young people who accessed a service whilst homeless felt safe to disclose information about their gender identity and sexuality. Increasing visibility of LGBTQ+ young people is crucial to ensuring that housing support and policy is responsive to their needs and experiences.

The limited data that has been released on housing shows that private renting is increasing, and as we see better documenting of the numbers of LGBTQ+ people in the UK, we hope to see a reform of the private rental system that makes the specific needs of the LGBTQ+ community a priority.

We will be keeping our eyes peeled when further breakdowns on sexuality and gender identity are released, including a breakdown of age and housing. These will help us fill some of the data gaps that exist on LGBTQ+ youth homelessness.