Preparations for the Census, to take place in April 2022, are now at an advanced stage and the addition of further questions is not now possible.
The addition of new questions on both gender identity and sexual orientation to the census were considered as part of the public consultation undertaken by CSO between 2017 and 2019.
The CSO convened a Census Advisory Group (CAG) in 2017 to consider the content of the census. The membership of the Group was reflective of the key users of census data. It comprised of representatives of Government departments, local authorities, public bodies, the social partners, universities and research institutes, as well as CSO personnel. The considerations surrounding the inclusion of questions on gender identity and sexual orientation were discussed at the Census Advisory Group meetings between 2017 and 2019, at that time neither topic was recommended for inclusion in Census 2022.
However, the CSO strongly recognises the importance of developing its capacity to collect and produce data on both topics and it is committed to doing so, including with a view to including the topics in the Census in the future.
The CSO has introduced new questions on both gender identity and sexual orientation in its General Household Survey in the first quarter of 2019. The first release from this iteration of the survey was published in July 2019. CSO is also currently planning to include a new gender identity question in addition to a sex at birth question in a new social survey due to be conducted in the coming months. The CSO will monitor the collection and production of data on both gender identity and sexual orientation in its social surveys with a view to developing questions which are well understood and acceptable to users, stakeholders and respondents and produce confidential, robust and consistent data. Achieving this will facilitate the introduction of questions on both gender identity and sexual orientation for testing as part of the next consultation process after Census 2022, which is the final step before inclusion on the census questionnaire.