After completing this unit, you will be able to:
- Describe the demographics of ace communities along the lines of romantic orientation, gender, race, disability, neurodiversity, and age.
- Identify some demographic groups that are underrepresented in the ace community.
Demographic diversity amongst aces and aros
Media depictions often portray ace and aro communities as homogenous groups; however, ace and aro people hold a variety of other identities that can significantly impact the issues they face and the ways they experience their orientation. Data from an annual ace community census demonstrates the diversity of ace communities, and highlights the need for a more complex understanding of ace and aro issues. We do not currently have enough statistics to accurately understand aro community demographics, though parallels can be drawn.
Community survey data from recent years suggests that most aces identify with a non-hetero romantic orientation. Many respondents identify as biromantic, panromantic, or homoromantic, demonstrating significant overlap with other LGBTQ+ communities. Many others identify as aromantic, or identify with romantic orientations on the aromantic spectrum.
Ace communities tend to be mostly made up of women. Non-binary people also make up a significant portion of the community, with men making up the smallest group. More than one in ten people in the ace community are trans, and three in ten are non-binary, which demonstrates significant overlap between the ace community and the trans and non-binary communities.
Identification as LGBTQ+
Most aces identify as LGBTQ+, whether that be because they view asexuality as an LGBTQ+ identity itself, or because they have another identity that fits under the LGBTQ+ umbrella.
Race and ethnicity
Respondents to community census data are disproportionately white and non-Hispanic. This is likely due to a combination of factors; for example, people of color:
- May be less likely to discover asexuality as they may have less access to online ace resources
- May feel less validated in their identity because media representation typically depicts white ace people
- Might be less likely to participate in communities, because they don’t feel included.
Mental health and disability
While mental health and disability statistics are not currently being released by the annual ace census, a large portion of aces and aros identify as being disabled, being neurodivergent, or having a mental illness. Evidence from local community census data suggests that rates of disability and mental illness are in line with or slightly higher than the general population.
According to the 2015 ace census, 87% of the respondents were 30 or younger. Because the ace community only began organizing around the year 2000 and most people discover asexuality through the internet, young people make up the majority in ace communities. Older ace people are significantly underrepresented because they did not have resources on asexuality when they were growing up and because they are less likely to discover asexuality on the internet.