Proposals for the United Kingdom’s next census, in 2021, include voluntary questions about sexual orientation and gender identity.
If the questions are approved, it will be the first time the UK has tracked this information in their census.
The Office for National Statistics released a white paper about this on Friday (14 December).
According to their findings, this census for England and Wales will ‘help shape public services’. It also ensures these services target the communities most in need of them.
For those 16 and older, they may have the opportunity to answer a voluntary question about their sexual orientation. Further, in addition to the question on being male or female, there may be another voluntary question for participants 16 and older about their gender identity.
There will also be questions regarding another group for the first time — veterans of the Armed Forces.
Census is foundation for policy
Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, Sir David Norgrove, described the census as the ‘foundation for national and local policy’.
‘The information gathered on the population, people’s characteristics, education, working life and health, enables public services and businesses to properly serve our communities,’ he continued.
National Statistician, John Pullinger, added: ‘The Census is for everyone; it gives us all the opportunity to stand up and be counted in democratic debate and policy decisions.
‘We have designed it with people at its heart and we consulted widely to ensure it meets the needs of society. Unlike previous Censuses, it will be digital first which will make it easier to complete electronically, with help available for those who need it.’
There are similar actions in the United States, with many people calling for sexual orientation and gender identity questions to be included in their next census.