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Questions about gender and sexual identity to be asked in Census 2023

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Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

Information on gender and sexual identity will be collected for the first time in this year's Census.

Everyone in Aotearoa will be asked to answer questions about themselves and their households on Census Day on 7 March.

Deputy Government Statistician and Census and Collection Operations deputy chief executive Simon Mason said a lot would be familiar in this year's Census to help them understand what was changing for the country over time.

"The majority of questions are the same as for previous censuses, because one of the benefits of doing a census is to understand what is changing for the country over time," Mason said.

There would be some new questions and limited changes but Stats NZ aimed to get good responses to information previously collected.

"We will collect gender, variations of sex characteristics, and sexual identity information for the first time," Mason said.

"Some minor changes to questions and an additional question will also support preparations for the New Zealand Household Disability Survey, which will happen after the 2023 Census."

Mason said improvements had been made to made questions easier to understand.

"For example, the question on iwi affiliation provides better information to enable Māori to respond."

The topics include population demographics, location, ethnicity, culture and identity, education and training, income, work, households and cigarette smoking.

"Collecting this information not only provides a count of the population and dwellings, but when grouped and combined together as anonymised data, provides a rich understanding of life in New Zealand," Mason said.

"This enables government, councils, iwi and community groups to respond with policies, services and funding to support the needs of communities, population groups, and the country as a whole."

The questions have already been published on the Census website.

"Everybody will fill out an individual form, or have one filled out on their behalf, for example, if they are an infant.

"There will also be a few questions about your household and about the dwelling you are living in."