In what may prove to be a controversial decision, New Zealand has announced that its 2023 Census will be the first to ask everyone in the country about their gender, sexual identity and whether they have any variations of sex characteristics (also known as intersex status).
Stats NZ said the publication of the 2023 Census: Final Content Report confirmed that that gender and sexual identity questions would be included for the first time.
“People’s sense of their gender and sexual identity is really important to them and can impact on their lives and experiences. The census touches everyone and will provide a detailed picture of how people with diverse genders and sexual identities experience life in Aotearoa New Zealand,” said Stats NZ’s Social and Population Insights General Manager, Jason Attewell.
Sexual identity data already in other surveys
“The data will also inform better decision making and provision of services for the Rainbow community.”
He added: “We are already collecting sexual identity and gender in our other household surveys and that is going well. It is important that everyone is able to see themselves in – and take part in – the census.”
Collecting information on gender and sexual identity in the census will allow more detailed geographic breakdowns of the data produced than may be possible for data collected in household surveys.
The 2023 Census also marks the first time in any Stats NZ survey that information will be collected on variations of sex characteristics (also known as intersex status).
First time NZ to have data on intersex community
“This is exciting because for the first time we will have data about the intersex community and just how many people in Aotearoa New Zealand are part of this community,” Attewell said.
Questions on sexual identity (for example, heterosexual, gay or lesbian) and variations of sex characteristics will only be asked of people aged 15 years or older.
According to Stats NZ, census data has many important uses such as allocating funding for health and education, making decisions on facilities needed in local areas, and understanding the wellbeing of population groups – including local, ethnic and other communities.