Latest Census 2021 products 

We have been providing a range of different ways to find statistics from Census 2021 so you can access multiple combinations of data which will help answer your pressing questions. Today we have added to the offering with a further package of datasets. Jen Woolford explains the latest release and how it should be used.  

Last week we launched ‘Create a custom dataset’ which empowers users to find and download multiple combinations of data they are most interested in.  It is a fantastic innovation for official statistics and has allowed us to release billions of statistics more quickly than ever before. We wanted to really open up the depth of census data to all and we hope you enjoy exploring this brand-new tool.   

However, as we have noted before, not all Census data can be accessed through ‘Create a custom dataset’. Some characteristics are unavailable or have to be grouped together to avoid the risk of people being identified.  The security and confidentiality of the information people entrust to us is always at the forefront of our work.  

New pre-built tables  

Where it was more appropriate to do so, we have developed pre-built multivariate tables so that we can provide detailed data for users while still protecting confidentiality.    

Today’s release allows as much flexibility as possible; it is a package of datasets where you can select the area type and coverage of Census 2021 sexual orientation and gender identity data combined with other variables.  This information comes from two new, voluntary questions on Census 2021 for people aged 16 and over. The questions were introduced to fill an evidence gap users identified and which, they told us, would help them better shape public services.   

At the beginning of 2023, we published the first insight on the size of the population of England and Wales in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity at a local level. This showed that both the LGB+ and trans populations are concentrated in urban areas and university towns and cities. Our analysis by age and sex also showed that the highest proportions of LGB+ and trans people were among 16- to 24-year-olds.     

Interpreting the data  

In line with our strategy for census statistics, later in 2023 we will be publishing analytical articles further exploring the data released today. Please look out for this analysis as it will help you interpret the data and understand interactions between variables. In the analysis, we expect to see the younger age profiles and where people live as being key to understanding interactions relating to the sexual orientation and gender identity data.   

Only once we have the analysis will we be able to draw the most informed conclusions. For this reason, we have flagged today’s data with quality notes indicating that age and geographic profile may affect the relationships with other variables such as education, employment, health, and housing. Please bear this in mind when looking at these relationships.    

In addition to today’s release, we have produced a separate dataset on gender identity and proficiency in English at a national level. Given the small numbers this is not possible at a lower level, for example for all local authorities, without risk of identifying individuals. This was not data for which a user need was identified in our consultation and engagement prior to the publication of the first estimates relating to gender identity but some more recent feedback suggests this information is of interest to some users.   

For information relevant to using these products, please refer to our latest quality information pages for sexual orientation and gender identity.  

We look forward to sharing the results of our analysis and full guidance on interpretation later this year and in the meantime, please send us your feedback on the new Create a custom dataset or email us at to have your questions answered by our expert team. 

Jen Woolford

Jen Woolford is Director of Population Statistics at the ONS