Please provide details of all work undertaken specifically to consider the potential impact of the proposed guidance to accompany the sex question* in the 2021 census on the quality of analysis that will be possible using census data in relation to sub-groups, particularly those where existing evidence suggests a higher than average rate of transgender identities.
For example, a survey undertaken by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons revealed that 1 in 50 male prisoners in England and Wales identify as transgender. The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust claims that between 1.2% and 2.7% of children and young people are 'gender-diverse'.
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request for details of all work undertaken to consider the potential impact of the proposed guidance to accompany the sex question in the 2021 Census on the quality of analysis that will be possible using census data in relation to sub-groups, particularly those where existing evidence suggests a higher than average rate of transgender identities.
The key aim of the census is to count the population, and so we want to ensure that everyone can respond. Sex is a core demographic variable and data on it are of fundamental importance for a range of census users providing vital information for national and local population statistics, including for equalities monitoring. A binary sex question has been included since the first Census in 1801 and since 1911 has been completed by householders or individuals.
The sex question had a very high response rate in the 2011 Census; while most people do not need guidance to answer it, we provided guidance for this question for the first time in 2011. National Records of Scotland (NRS) commissioned quantitative testing on the guidance for the sex question that demonstrated a low uptake of available guidance for this question. In England and Wales, cognitive testing has shown that guidance for this question can be useful for those who need it, to assist everyone to answer. We published findings from its cognitive testing alongside the proposed guidance published in October 2019 and used the guidance during the 2019 Census Rehearsal, which provided valuable insight into how the questions have been answered and how the online help and guidance was used.
The census questions and guidance have been developed with a view to aiding everyone to answer the questions, including testing and stakeholder engagement. We recognise that there are varied views across stakeholders. It is, however, important to ensure that the census counts the whole population by maximising response, in order to meet the identified needs of data users.
Given the testing and engagement completed, we have not undertaken work on the guidance with a specific focus on the quality of analyses possible using 2021 Census data for specific groups.
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