Updated statistical standard for gender, sex, and variations of sex characteristics released

An updated statistical standard will inform how agencies collect and report information on gender, sex, and variations of sex characteristics, Stats NZ said today.

The refreshed standard makes definitions and measures consistent, provides guidance for collecting transgender and intersex population data, and is grounded in a human rights approach.

“It’s important we collect data in an inclusive way, and our process for developing the updated standard reflects this. The refresh has involved extensive public consultation, input from government agencies, international peers, and the support of subject matter experts,” Government statistician and Chief Executive Mark Sowden said.

The review was driven by unmet information needs, issues with existing standards, and significant community interest. Of particular concern was the lack of capacity for existing standards to adequately reflect transgender and intersex people.

The public consultation ran in July and August of 2020 and garnered 1,400 submissions from individuals and organisations both in New Zealand and overseas.

“We’re proud of the work done to date and we’re committed to developing statistical standards that reflect our evolving society. With flexible, enduring standards and quality guidance, government will be able to collect the kind of data that is vital to decision making,” Mr Sowden said.

The standard is likely to be mandated through the Government Chief Data Steward’s mandated standards process. The process does not mean that agencies must start collecting data, but that where they collect and share data on these topics, the standard must be adopted.

A number of government agencies already collect some form of gender or sex data, and Stats NZ will be providing support for the adoption of the updated standard in their survey and administrative collections.

The updated standard will inform future Stats NZ collections, including the household surveys and next census.

See Statistical standard for gender, sex, and variations of sex characteristics.

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