Fun with numbers

One of those numbers that we don\’t really know all that much about is the number of Teh Gays there are.

No one has actually gone around everyone in the country and asked how they prefer to have their gonads fondled: Tab A to Slot A, Tab to Tab or Slot to Slot. So we can only make approximations.

We do get numbers like 10% of the population but those come from activists like Peter Tatchell who have an obvious desire to big up what they are activists about. They also seem to include all of those who have ever gone tab to tab or slot to slot as being always desiring to do so. A bit like calling the child who has tried spinach once a spinach eater even if all subsequent attempts to offer spinach lead to it being hidden behind the potatoes.

We also get numbers like 1 and 2% and these seem to represent those who are exclusively tab/tab, slot/slot, desires not changing at all dependent upon circumstances (for given the malleability of human sexuality we know very well that the desire for sex/love will overcome much finickiness about the type of it in restrictive circumstances).

So today we are given the figures for civil partnerships:

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics show that in 2006, the first full year after the law changed, there were 16,106 civil partnerships.

The following year, after many of the couples who had been waiting to enjoy legal union took advantage of the new law, there were half as many – 8,728.

The figure fell again in 2008 to 7,169 and figures published on Thursday show there were 6,281 civil partnerships last year.

Of these, 51 per cent were between male couples while the average age of men having civil partnerships was 41.2 and 38.9 among women. Most took place in Westminster and Brighton.

So, what\’s the number of marriages?

The provisional number of marriages registered in England and Wales in 2008 was 232,990.

Now in some ways these numbers are directly comparable, in that civil partnerships are only for Teh Gays while marriages are only for Teh Straights.

In others they\’re not….that first year of CPs is clearly the clearing of something of a backlog. We might wibble about straights being more likely to marry because of children but given that the majority (I think it is now?) are born outside marriage that\’s not all that important.

So we might take a stab at saying that Teh Gays appear to be about 3% of the population.

What we\’ve actually got is that the number of gay couples sufficiently committed to wish to register that committment in a legal manner is about 3% of the straights who wish to do the same. But it\’s not an unreasonable way of estimating prevalence in the general population is it?

8 thoughts on “Fun with numbers”

  1. I think the one difference is that a huge number of straights get married at the time when they are looking to have children. Women want to know that they have that sort of commitment from men.

    I’d suggest that the same thing doesn’t really apply to gay couples.

    It’s also worth considering how many gays are closeted.

  2. Whilst I agree that Tim Almond makes some significant points, I think Tim W has come up with a better method than the others for all of its flaws.

  3. You also have to look at the number of marriages/year. They have been going down as more and more just cohabit. So to get married now a days doesn’t show just commitment but is a sign of the couple’s attitudes. Don’t forget to factor in the marriages that occur after divorces.

  4. In Brighton sometimes it seems that 50 % are gay, while the other half are definitely traffic wardens.

    Alan Douglas

  5. It’s a good approach, although I think the children thing is more than a ‘wibble’, what matters is not the % of children born in wedlock but the number of marriages because of children.

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