What is the size of Australia’s sexual minority population?

Tom Wilson, Jeromey Temple, Anthony Lyons, Fiona Shalley

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Objectives: The aim is to present updated estimates of the size of Australia’s sexual minority adult population (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and other sexual minority identities). No estimate of this population is currently available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and very little is available from other sources. We obtained data on sexual minority identities from three data collections of two national surveys of recent years. Combining averaged prevalence rates from these surveys with official Estimated Resident Population data, we produce estimates of Australia’s sexual minority population for recent years. 

Results: According to percentages averaged across the three survey datasets, 3.6% of males and 3.4% of females described themselves with a minority sexual identity. When applied to Estimated Resident Populations, this gives a sexual minority population at ages 18 + in Australia of 599,500 in 2011 and 651,800 in 2016. Population estimates were also produced by sex and broad age group, revealing larger numbers and higher sexual minority percentages in the younger age groups, and smaller numbers and percentages in the oldest age group. Separate population estimates were also prepared for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and other sexual minority identities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number535
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalBMC Research Notes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


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