Manchester has one of the country’s largest gay populations, according to new census

Newly released 2021 census data has revealed the sexual orientation of the UK’s population for the very first time – showing that 6.67% of Manchester’s population aged over 16 identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or other (LGB+).  

In contrast, 84.61% of people in Manchester identify as straight or heterosexual.

Despite Manchester’s renown for its gay scene, the percentage of LGB+ people living in the city is less than areas such as London (10.32%), Brighton & Hove (10.73%), Norwich (7.32%), and Cambridge (7.53%).

However, Manchester’s LGB+ population is significantly higher than that of other large cities like Newcastle-upon-Tyne (5.05%) and Birmingham (3.01%).

Student-heavy areas like Fallowfield appear to have a larger LGB+ population than the wider city, but Piccadilly & Ancoats has the highest percentage of LGB+ residents – at 16.96%, it is also the fourth highest of all similarly sized areas in the country.

The correlation between student areas and a high LGB+ population is reflected across the country, with areas such as Broomhill & Lower Crookesmoor in Sheffield (10.75%) and Cathays South & Bute Park in Cardiff (11.39%) also scoring highly compared to their wider respective cities.

The census seems to suggest that LGB+ people, in general, live closer to central urban areas rather than rural districts. Areas further out from Manchester’s city centre tend to have a higher heterosexual population, such as East Didsbury (89.80%) and Moston West (88.97%).

The census also found that 1.02% of Manchester’s population aged 16 years and over had a different gender identity than their sex registered at birth, compared to just 0.49% in London.

Sonny Ashworth, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, has lived in Manchester for seven years.

He said: “I’m not surprised Manchester has one of the country’s biggest gay populations.

“I know people who moved to university here simply because it has such a vast LBGT+ scene.

“There’s always someone like you in the Village, I always feel safe here.” 

Ben Thompson, who grew up in Manchester, also said that the city is a great place to live as an LGBTQ+ individual.

He said: “Manchester is a really good place to be LGBTQ+. 

“You have the Gay Village of course, but even beyond that it’s a very gay friendly city.

“You have a lot in the way of music, art, and culture to enjoy.”

Featured image: Eleanor Storey

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