news

Census to ask sexuality and gender identity for first time to 'inform provision of services'

Progress.

2020-10-19

An Office of National Statistics rep has spoken about why the UK government is including questions on sexuality and gender identity in the next census.

The voluntary questions will be for people over 16.

Ocurring 10 years after the last survey, the census will take place in March 2021. 

"There is no robust data available on gender identity at all"


Iain Bell, deputy national statistician of the ONS, said: “Without robust data on the size of the LGBT population at a national and local level, decision-makers are operating in a vacuum, unaware of the extent and nature of disadvantage which LGBT people may be experiencing in terms of health, educational outcomes, employment and housing.”

Bell added: “While there are estimates of sexual orientation at a national and regional level, it is not possible to produce robust estimates for all local authorities – that’s what census data will give. And there is no robust data available on gender identity at all.

“These data are needed by local authorities and service providers to inform the provision of services. The sexual orientation and gender identity questions will be voluntary for people aged 16 and over.”

A census is an official survey of a population; it has taken place every 10 years in the UK, bar a couple of exceptions, since 1801.

It is illegal to not fill out compulsory parts of the census.

According to the ONS website, the recommended question on sexual orientation is: 

Which of the following best describes your sexual orientation?
This question is voluntary
[ ] Straight or Heterosexual
[ ] Gay or Lesbian
[ ] Bisexual
[ ] Other sexual orientation
(Write in sexual orientation)

The recommended sex and gender identity questions are as folows:

What is your sex?
A question about gender identity will follow later on in the questionnaire
[ ] Female
[ ] Male

Is the gender you identify with the same as your sex registered at birth?
This question is voluntary
[ ] Yes
[ ] No
(Enter gender identity)

The Attitude November issue is out now to download and to order globally.

Subscribe in print and get your first three issues for just £3, or digitally for just £1.54 per issue.