1. Headline statistics

  • 1.5 per cent of adults in the UK identified themselves as Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual

  • 2.7 per cent of 16 to 24 year olds in the UK identified themselves as Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual compared with 0.4 per cent of 65 year olds and over

  • Across the UK, 78 per cent of men and 75 per cent of women reported that they perceived themselves to be ‘in good health’

  • Of the constituent countries of the UK, for the third successive year Wales has reported the lowest rate of perceived good health

  • In the UK, those aged 18 to 24 and who currently smoke are over twice as likely to have reported to be ‘not in good health’ compared with those that have never smoked

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2. Summary

This Statistical Bulletin covers the survey period April 2011 to March 2012.

The Integrated Household Survey (IHS) is the largest social survey produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The survey is comprised of a core suite of questions from three current ONS household surveys and contains information from approximately 350,000 individual respondents – the biggest pool of UK social data after the census.

The survey covers a number of themes including education, migration, housing and employment with only certain topics included in this Bulletin. Information and statistics about these and other themes can be found in the background notes and are published by ONS on the UK National Statistics Publication Hub website.

ONS is proposing to reduce the number of annual IHS datasets from four to one per year. This proposal is out for consultation from August to October 2012. See background note 1 for further information.

IHS statistics are currently designated as experimental. Experimental statistics are new official statistics undergoing evaluation: they are published in order to involve customers and stakeholders in their development and as a means to build in quality at an early stage.

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3. Sexual identity

The question on sexual identity was developed and tested on a number of surveys in 2008 and was added to the IHS in 2009. The data have been collected to provide accurate statistics to underpin the equality monitoring responsibilities of public sector organisations and to assess the disadvantage or relative discrimination experienced by the lesbian, gay and bisexual population.

The sexual identity question was asked to respondents aged 16 years and over and was not asked by proxy. Proxy interviews are defined as those when answers are supplied by a third party, who is a member of the respondent’s household. A valid response was provided by 95 per cent of eligible responders.

The IHS data in the survey period April 2011 to March 2012 indicate that:

  • 93.9 per cent of adults identified themselves as Heterosexual/Straight

  • 1.1 per cent of the surveyed UK population, approximately 545,000 adults, identified themselves as Gay or Lesbian

  • 0.4 per cent of the surveyed UK population, approximately 220,000 adults, identified themselves as Bisexual

  • 0.3 per cent identified themselves as ‘Other’

  • 3.6 per cent of adults stated ‘Don’t know’ or refused to answer the question

  • 0.6 per cent of respondents provided ‘No response’ to the question

The ‘Other’ option on the question was to address the fact that not all people will consider they fall in the first three categories.

Table 1 highlights that the sexual identity information for the three consecutive years of IHS data shows consistency across all categories and gender. The latest data shows that 93.6 per cent of men and 94.2 per cent of women identified themselves as Heterosexual/Straight and that a larger proportion of men stated they were Gay, at 1.5 per cent, compared with women at 0.7 per cent.

At the regional level of England and the constituent countries of the UK, IHS data again shows a consistent pattern to previous years. In April 2011 to March 2012:

  • 2.4 per cent of adults who live in London said they were Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual

  • 1.1 per cent of adults who live in the East of England identified themselves as Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual

A comparison by age group showed that 2.7 per cent of those aged 16 to 24 identified themselves as Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual, compared with only 0.4 per cent of those aged 65 and over.

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4. Perceived general health and smoking prevalence

The survey asked people about their perception of their health in general. The IHS data show that across the UK in April 2011 to March 2012:

  • 78 per cent of men and 75 per cent of women perceive themselves to be ‘in good health’

  • of all the constituent countries of the UK, as in previous years, Wales reported the lowest rate of perceived good health at 73 per cent

  • at the regional level the North East of England reported the lowest rate of perceived good health at 72 per cent, with London reporting the highest at 80 per cent

Looking at perceived general health by age and gender, the IHS data show that:

  • the percentage of men that report that they perceive themselves to be ‘in good health’ are higher in all age groups than reported for women

  • people in younger age groups are more likely to report themselves to be ‘in good health’. Men in age group 16-24 reported the highest level of perceived good health at 92.3 per cent, with women in age group 65 and over reported the lowest at 55.8 per cent

Looking at smoking prevalence by age group and perceived general health the IHS data show that:

  • people who have never smoked are more likely to report themselves to be ‘in good health’. In the table below 7.0 per cent of adults in the 18 to 24 age group who have never smoked perceive themselves to be ‘not in good health’, compared with 15.0 per cent who currently smoke

Looking at smoking prevalence by region the IHS data show that:

  • as in 2010/11, of the constituent countries of the UK Scotland reported to have the highest level of adults who currently smoke at 23.4 per cent. Northern Ireland reported to have the lowest at 18.7 per cent

  • within the regions of England, the South East reported to have the lowest level of adults who currently smoke at 18.6 per cent, with Yorkshire and the Humber reporting the highest at 22.2 per cent

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5 .Background notes

  1. Integrated Household Survey

    The Integrated Household Survey is formed from ’core‘ questions on a number of ONS Household Surveys. Data for this release were obtained from the following survey months:

    After April 2011, the number of surveys contributing the IHS dataset fell, as LOS and EHS could not continue asking the core questions.

    From January 2012, the cross-sectional fieldwork comprising the General Lifestyle Survey (GLF) has been wound up and so the IHS only comprises of the Living Cost and Food Survey (LCF) and Labour Force / Annual Population Survey (LFS/APS).

    ONS is proposing to reduce the number of annual IHS datasets from four to one per year. This proposal is out for consultation from August to October 2012.

    Further information on the IHS and APS can be found on the ONS website.

  2. Notes on the themes

    2.1 Sexual identity

    While the Equality Act 2010 and relevant legislation in the past refers to sexual orientation, ONS has focused on collecting data on sexual identity. The sexual identity question measures how people see themselves and not how others see them.

    The sexual identity question was asked in both face to face and telephone interviews. During the face to face interviews, adults were asked; ‘Which of the options on this show card best describes how you think of yourself?’ For telephone interviews, a slightly different way of collecting the information was used; ‘I will now read out a list of terms that people use to describe how they think of themselves’. The list was read out to the respondents twice. On the second reading, the respondent had to say ‘stop’ when an appropriate term they identified with was read out. In both modes, the order in which the terms appeared or were read out was unique for each respondent to ensure confidentiality and no proxy interviews were allowed.

    Information regarding the development of the sexual identity question can be found on the ONS website.

    2.2 Smoking prevalence

    The General Lifestyle Survey report presents smoking prevalence information for 2010.

  3. Subjective well-being

    As part of the Measuring National Well-being programme, ONS in April 2011 added what is termed 'subjective well-being' questions to the constituent surveys of the IHS. Subjective Well-being concerns people's self-reported assessment of their own well-being. Survey questions of this nature aim to capture an individuals well-being by measuring how people think and feel, for example asking about life satisfaction, meaning and purpose and day-to-day emotions. Used alongside more objective statistics they provide a fuller assessment of National Well-being.

    In July 2012, ONS produced the first annual experimental subjective well-being dataset from the Annual Population Survey, the largest constituent survey of the IHS.

  4. Other sources of data

    Information on mental well-being, self-assessed health, and smoking for Scotland were published on 25 September in the Scottish Health Survey 2011. This report and the Scottish Household Survey are recommended for users primarily interested in Scottish data without UK wide comparison. In Scotland the statistical contact for health is Julie Ramsay 0131 244 2368 and for sexual identity, religion and ethnicity is Jon Hunter 0131 244 7571.

    The Welsh Government publish data on sexual identity on their StatsWales website. More detailed data on self-assessed general health was published for Wales in the Welsh Health Survey 2011 report, and this is recommended for users primarily interested in Welsh data.

  5. Access to the data

    IHS data will be made available through the End User Licence at the UK Data Archive. The End User Licence is an agreement between the user and the University of Essex to provide users with the right to use the data held at the Data Archive .The End User Licence dataset can be accessed on the UK Data Archive (UKDA).

    A more detailed file can be accessed if Approved Researcher Status is sought and agreed. More information on the UK Data Archive and the Approved Researcher process are provided on the About us section of the ONS website.

  6. Experimental statistics

    Experimental statistics are those which are in the testing phase, are not yet fully developed and have not been submitted for assessment to the UK Statistics Authority. The IHS is designated as experimental statistics. Further information on experimental statistics can be found on the ONS website.

  7. Quality

    Detailed information on sampling variability of the IHS can be found on the ONS website, and confidence intervals for the latest estimates described in the Bulletin can be found in the linked excel download tables.

  8. Publication policy

    Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available from the Media Relations Office.

    Issued by:
    Office for National Statistics
    Government Buildings
    Cardiff Road
    Newport
    NP10 8XG.

    Media contact:

    Tel: Media Relations Office 0845 6041838
    Emergency on-call: 07867 906553
    Email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

  9. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Tim Vizard
socialsurveys@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 455278