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2023 Census to collect data about gender identity and sexuality

November 23, 2022

Interview by Spike Keith, adapted by Stella Huggins

Listen to the interview

The 2023 Census will include questions about gender and sexuality for the first time in Aotearoa’s history. 

Speaking to Spike on The Wire, Jason Attewell from Stats NZ confirmed the census will ask about assigned gender at birth, what gender an individual identifies with (as two separate questions), and about an individual’s sexual identity. 

He says “it’s exciting to be collecting this data… we’re going to be reflecting the diversity of Aotearoa, New Zealand” and that it “can be used for services and areas of need.”

The public service department has also been working with different entities to create appropriate questions that accurately and sensitively capture the data. That includes an external advisory group comprised of members from the LGBTQI+ community and Intersex Aotearoa (an intersex-led non-profit organisation).

While it will be the first time a census has collected such information, other projects have begun establishing a picture of the community in Aotearoa. These questions have been used in The Household Economic Survey, and similar questions were used in The General Social Survey (which collects information about well-being).

Attewell told Spike this work had “been going really, really well; we’ve got some amazing data out of those household surveys.”

Stats NZ is also making a concerted effort to protect the privacy of respondents, at an individual and analytical level. Attewell stressed that Stats NZ “want to make sure it’s safe for people to answer these questions”. 

When the data is collected, it will be aggregated- so no published material will have any identifying factors. The census is available online and in physical form. Those who may be concerned about filling physical out forms that household members could have access to can do their census via a device and submit it themselves.  


Public interest journalism funded through NZ On Air