Stats NZ now collecting information about sexual identity

Author
Jason Walls, NZ Herald,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 26 June 2019, 3:23PM
1.9 per cent of Kiwis identify as bisexual and 1.1 per cent said they were gay or lesbian (Image / Getty Images)

People who identify as bisexual are more likely to have worse mental wellbeing than heterosexual Kiwis, according to new data.

For the first time, Statistics New Zealand's General Social Survey (GSS) included information about people's sexual identity.

The figures show that 1.9 per cent of Kiwis identify as bisexual and 1.1 per cent said they were gay or lesbian.

Almost seven in 10 of those who identified as bisexual were female, while six in 10 people who identified as gay/lesbian were male.

Some 96.5 per cent of New Zealanders identified as being heterosexual.

The remaining 0.5 per cent of people identified as other identities, including either takatāpui, asexual and pansexual.

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Stats NZ's general manager Jason Attewell said the new data highlights wellbeing disparities and will help the Government to better address some of the concerns.

When it comes to measuring overall life satisfaction, people who identified as bisexual were the least satisfied with life.

Stats NZ data showed that close to 8 out of 10 adults rated their overall life satisfaction at 7 out of 10 or higher.

But, on the same measure, just 6 out of 10 bisexual people rated their life satisfaction as a seven or above.

"The lower life satisfaction rating for people identifying as bisexual was reflected across a number of wellbeing measures," the report said.

For example, a third of people who identified as bisexual reported having poor mental wellbeing.

That compares to roughly a fifth of adults who reported having poor mental wellbeing.

Meanwhile, the data showed that people who identified as gay/lesbian or bisexual found it "significantly harder to express their identity than Kiwis who identified as heterosexual.

Some 74 per cent of gay/lesbian, and 70 per cent of bisexual people, found it "very easy" to express their identity.

That number is 85 per cent compared with heterosexual people.

Stats NZ officials say that the next GSS – which will be released in 2020 – will include statistics on gender identity and people's "sex at birth".

In terms of New Zealander's overall wellbeing, the majority of Kiwis – some 80 per cent – rated their life satisfaction highly, a 7 out of 10 or higher on the wellbeing scale.

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