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The Census 2021 releases data on gender identity for the first time ever!

Published on: 06.01.2023

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The Census is a survey of the population and housing in the United Kingdom that is conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The Census is conducted every ten years and provides important information about the characteristics and circumstances of the people and households in the country. The data collected by the Census is used to inform government policy, allocate funding to local authorities and communities, and support research and planning.

The 2021 Census in the United Kingdom included a question on gender identity for the first time. The census question on gender identity was a voluntary question asked of those aged 16 years and over. The question asked “Is the gender you identify with the same as your sex registered at birth?”.

However, it is important to note that the Census is a voluntary survey and individuals are not required to answer any questions they do not feel comfortable answering. All responses to the Census are confidential and are used only for statistical purposes.

The ONS have finally released the information regarding gender identity from the 2021 Census, which includes the following;

  • Over 47.5 million (94% of the population aged 16 years and older) answered this question, with 93.5% (45.4 million)  answering ‘Yes’ and 0.5% (262,000) answering ‘No.


  • Within the ‘No’ group respondents;
    • 48,000 (0.10%) identified as a trans man.
    • 48,000 (0.10%) identified as a trans woman.
    • 30,000 (0.06%) identified as non-binary.
    • 18,000 (0.04%) wrote in a different gender identity.
    • 118,000 (0.24%) answered ‘No’ but did not put a write-in response to this question.

The ONS also looked at how this data varied across both England and Wales and found the following;

  • The percentage of the population who reported a different gender identity to their sex assigned at birth was slightly higher in England (0.55%) than it was in Wales (0.40%). 
  • Within England, the region with the highest percentage was London (0.91%) and the region with the lowest percentage was the South West (0.42%). 
  • Compared with the rest of England and Wales, London had a higher percentage of those identifying as a trans man (0.16%), trans woman (0.16%) and those who answered ‘No’ but did not include a write-in answer (0.46%). 
  • Out of the top 10 local authorities for percentage of people responding ‘No’, 8 were in London, with Newham (1.51%) and Brent (1.31%) coming out on top. 
  • The two non-London local authorities included in the top 10 were Oxford (1.25%) and Norwich (1.07%). 
  • In Wales, Cardiff (0.71%) and Ceredigion (0.70%) were the two authorities with the highest percentages. 

When looking at the split of specific gender identities in relation to the individual’s local authority, we can see the following;

  • The highest percentage of the population identifying as trans men was in Brent (0.28%) and Newham (0.25%). 
  • Whilst Barking and Dagenham (0.25%) had the highest percentage of individuals who identified as trans women. 
  • In Wales, Cardiff had the highest percentage of individuals identifying as trans men (0.12%) and as trans women (0.13%). 
  • However, interestingly, the five local authorities with the highest population of those identifying as non-binary were all outside of London. 
  • Brighton & Hove had the highest percentage at 0.35%, followed by Norwich (0,33% and Cambridge (0.26%). Rounding out the top 5, in fifth place, was Ceredigion, in Wales, at 0.23%. 

The question on gender identity was new for the Census 2021, which was added to provide the first official data on the size of the transgender population in England and Wales. The data will help to provide better quality information for monitoring purposes, support anti-discrimination duties under the Equality Act 2010 & aid allocation for resources and policy development.

Keep your eyes peeled for some more news breakdowns throughout the year, as the ONS begin to release more information regarding the sexual orientation and gender identity analysis, including information on other contributing factors!