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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
Tel: 902-424-2410Email:

June 21, 2021

Statistics Canada recently released demographic and social profile of Canada’s communities of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, Two-Spirit, or those who identify with another non-binary gender or minority sexual identity (LGBTQ2+). The focus of this analysis is mostly on LGB (lesbian, gay, bisexual) since Statistics Canada has been collecting detailed information on these communities since 2003.

In 2018, approximately one million people identified as LGBTQ2+ in Canada accounting for 4% of total population aged 15 and older.

Based on the 2015 and 2018 cycles of the Canadian Community Health survey (CCHS), 25% of Canada’s LGB population were gay men (255,100) while one in seven were gay or lesbian women (150,600). There were 332,000 bisexual women and 161,200 bisexual men.

Approximately 75,000 Canadians were trans or non-binary in 2018 according to the 2018 Survey on Safety in Public and Private Spaces. This represented 0.24% of the Canadian population aged 15 and older.

In 2018, youth aged 15 and 24 represented just under 30% of the LGBTQ2+ population compared with 14% of the non-LGBTQ2+ population. For older population, 7% of LGBTQ2+ Canadians were aged 65 and older compared with 21% of non-LGBTQ2+ Canadians.

The number of same sex couples in Canada increased by 60.7% from 2006 to 2016 while the number of opposite sex couples increased by 9.6% over the same period. There was a total of 72,880 same-sex couples in Canada in 2016 which accounted for 0.9% of all couples according to the 2016 Census data.

Two-thirds of the same-sex couples were living common-law while 33.4% were married in 2016.

12% of same-sex couples had children living with them in 2016 compared with about 50% of opposite-sex couples.

In 2018, 41% of LGBTQ2+ Canadians had a total personal income of less than $20,000 per year, compared with 26% of their non-LGBTQ2+ counterparts. The average personal incomes of LGBTQ2+ income earners were also significantly lower ($39,000) than those of non-LGBTQ2+ people ($54,000) in Canada. Statistics Canada noted that the income difference between the LGBTQ2+ and non-LGBTQ2+ Canadians may be due to the higher share of young Canadians in the LGBTQ2+ population.

In 2018, 33% of LGBTQ2+ Canadians found it difficult or very difficult to meet their needs in terms of transportation, housing, food, clothing, participation in some social activities and other necessary expenses, compared with just over one-quarter (27%) of non-LGBTQ2+ Canadians.

27% of LGBTQ2+ Canadians have experienced some type of homelessness or housing insecurity during their lifetime prior to the pandemic compared with 13% of the non- LGBTQ2+ Canadians. In 2018, 35%  of LGBTQ2+ youth aged 15 to 24 were living outside their parents' homes in 2018 compared with 24% of non-LGBTQ2+ youth.

The 2018 Survey on Safety in Public and Private Spaces showed that LGB+ Canadians (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and Canadians whose sexual orientation is not heterosexual) were more likely to report being violently victimized in their lifetime and to have experienced inappropriate behaviours in public and online than non-sexual minority Canadians.

In 2019, police reported 263 hate crimes, up 41% from 2018 and the highest number of hate crimes targeting sexual orientation since 2009. Almost 88% of these crimes specifically targeted the gay and lesbian community the remainder comprised incidents targeting bisexual people (2%), people with other sexual orientations, such as asexual, pansexual or other non-heterosexual orientations (6%), and people whose sexual orientation was unknown (4%).

More than half (53%) of hate crimes targeting sexual orientation were violent crimes. This compared to 27% of hate crimes targeting religion and 52% of hate crimes targeting race or ethnicity that were violent.

In 2018, 57% of sexual minority Canadian reported experiencing inappropriate behaviours in public compared with 22% of heterosexual Canadians over the previous 12 months. The same pattern holds true for experiencing inappropriate behaviours online (37% versus 15%) or at work (44% vs 22%).

32% of sexual minority Canadians report poor of fair mental health compared with 11% of heterosexual Canadians. The share of sexual minority Canadian (40%) reporting to have contemplated suicide in their lifetimes was much higher compared to heterosexual Canadians (15%). 41% of sexual minority Canadians have been diagnosed with mood or anxiety disorder versus 16% of heterosexual Canadians.

A recent crowdsource survey found that gender-diverse participants (participants who did not report their gender as exclusively female or male) were almost 3 times more likely than male participants to report that they had experienced discrimination during the pandemic.

Statistics Canada will be releasing a series of four articles using the CCHS over the course of 2021 and early 2022 covering the family and household, linguistic and ethnocultural diversity, education and labour characteristics of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and heterosexual population.

A portrait of the trans and non-binary populations will be presented with the initial release of 2021 Census data on sex at birth and gender. The families, households and marital status release of 2021 Census will include an article on the growing diversity of couples in Canada.


Source: Statistics Canada, A statistical portrait of Canada's diverse LGBTQ2+ communities

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