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New guidance for collecting data about sexual identity

Press Release – Statistics New Zealand

Introducing a statistical standard for sexual identity and a framework for sexual orientation is an important step in ensuring all New Zealanders can see themselves in official statistics, Stats NZ said today.

19 February 2019

Introducing a statistical standard for sexual identity and a framework for sexual orientation is an important step in ensuring all New Zealanders can see themselves in official statistics, Stats NZ said today.

“We’ve been working hard for to meet what we know is a strong demand to record and present data on sexual identity, so it’s great to see this new guidance released today,” products, services and insights general manager Dean Rutherford said.

Information on sexual identity is already collected in surveys like the General Social Survey and the NZ Health Survey. However, the new statistical standard will help make future collections more consistent and comparable. This will lead to practical benefits.

“We know, for example, that young people belonging to sexual minorities are more likely to experience bullying, and to have limited access to mental health care. To address these issues, policy-makers need access to high-quality, timely, and accurate data,” Mr Rutherford said.

In April 2018 a public consultation on the proposed standard and framework attracted over 900 submissions.

“The level of public interest in the consultation underlined the importance of this work. We acknowledge that people have very personal feelings about how they identify sexually, and we have produced this guidance with that in mind,” Mr Rutherford said.

“The aim of the standard is to make it easier for people to ask the right questions at the right time, and in the right way. We are confident that our guidance will do that.”

The statistical standard for sexual identity sits alongside the existing statistical standards for gender identity and sex.

Both standards will be reviewed in the near future to ensure their ongoing relevance.

Stats NZ is grateful for the input of many individuals and groups, and for assistance from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Social Development, and the State Services Commission in developing the new statistical standard for sexual identity.

The Government Statistician authorises all statistics and data we publish.

For more information about these statistics:

• Visit Sexual orientation: Findings from public consultation April 2018
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