2021 census: 10,000 people in Wales are a different gender to what they were assigned at birth

Census shows transgender and non-binary identity, and sexual orientation for the first time. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

More than 10,000 people in Wales identify as a different gender to what they were assigned at birth, according to the 2021 census.

It marks the first census in which people were asked about their sexual orientation and gender identity.

3,800 people in Wales identified as either a trans man or trans woman, and a further 1,500 answered as non-binary.

The counties of Cardiff, Newport and Ceredigion saw the highest number of over 16-year-olds identifying as transgender.

According to the ONS, gender identity refers to a person’s sense of their own gender, whether male, female or another category such as non-binary. This may or may not be the same as what they were registered at birth.

Answering the census sections about sexuality and gender identity was voluntary.

Sexual orientation

The census also found that some 76,864 people in Wales, or 3% of the population, said they did not identify as “straight or heterosexual," with 1.5% of the population identifying as gay or lesbian, 1.2% as bisexual and 0.3% as any other sexual orientation.

In Wales, the largest LGB+ populations were in Cardiff (5.3%), Ceredigion (4.9%), and Swansea (3.4%).

The data showed 89.4% of the population aged 16 years and above in Wales identify as straight or heterosexual.

A "historic step forward"

Nancy Kelley, Chief Executive of Stonewall said: “For the past two centuries of data gathering through our national census, LGBTQ+ people have been invisible, with the stories of our communities, our diversity, and our lives missing from the national record.

“Today is a historic step forward after decades of Stonewall campaigning to record sexual orientation and gender identity in the census, finally painting an accurate picture of the diverse ‘Rainbow Britain’ that we now live in, where more and more of us are proud to be who we are.

“This data will help Stonewall and others make the case to better target resources and support to help LGBTQ+ people thrive, whether in health, education or work. But just as important, it means our country knows itself a little better today.”

Pride Cymru is the largest LGBTQ+ event in the Welsh calendar. Credit: Pride Cymru

ONS director Jen Woolford said the first census estimates were “crucial”, adding: “They will ensure decision-makers have the best information so they can better understand the extent and nature of disadvantage which people may be experiencing in terms of educational outcomes, health, employment, and housing.

“This is just the first snapshot. In future analysis, we will be exploring sexual orientation and gender identity by key demographic variables, such as age and sex, as well as employment, health, education, and ethnicity, among others.”