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The sex and gender question – StatsNZ

StatsNZ review of the standards for the gender question

At CensusAtSchool we get a lot of questions about this question! StatsNZ have developed a flowchart that recognises best practice for questionaire design, regarding posing survey questions and collecting data about sex and gender.  See the step-by-step-guide to determining if and how to collect sex and gender data and the full report and findings.

The review was driven by unmet information needs, known issues with existing statistical standards, and significant community interest. Other New Zealand government agencies, including CensusAtSchool, are also seeking guidance on how to best collect such information across broader survey and administrative settings.

StatsNZ were already aware of some issues with the existing statistical standards, particularly limitations in adequately reflecting gender minorities and intersex people. These issues relate to limited options available for respondents to describe who they are and limitations on our ability to meet information needs for different populations by ensuring the data reported can be disaggregated where appropriate. The review of the sex and gender identity statistical standards seeks to address these issues, with a view to providing appropriate guidance for different contexts and information needs.

Statistical offices around the world are facing similar challenges regarding how best to collect information on these concepts, with fast-evolving societal and cultural understandings and languages. It is critical that StatsNZ ensure the statistical standards for sex and gender identity are contemporary, flexible and enduring, and able to meet information relevant to the New Zealand context.

For more information about the review, email

  • Keywords: Gender, Sex
  • (Last updated: 24/08/20. Added: 24/08/20)
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