U.S. Census Bureau to include questions on sexual orientation and gender identity in survey

The U.S. Census Bureau plans to include questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in its upcoming survey, marking a significant step towards inclusivity in demographic data collection.

The U.S. Census Bureau is set to conduct a significant test in its upcoming survey, as it plans to include questions regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. This move marks a notable step forward in gathering comprehensive data on American demographics.

The test questions will reach approximately 480,000 households, with an expected response rate of just over half. If approved, this will be the first time such questions are integrated into the American Community Survey, which already covers a wide array of topics including commuting habits, internet accessibility, family dynamics, income levels, education, disabilities, and military service.


During the testing phase, respondents will have the option to answer the questions online, via mail, over the phone, or through in-person interviews. To address privacy concerns, the bureau proposes using flash cards for face-to-face interviews and implementing numbered response categories for individuals who prefer to keep their responses confidential within their household.

The proposed test questions include inquiries about gender identity and sexual orientation. For all respondents, the survey will ask about the sex assigned at birth, with options for male or female. For individuals aged 15 and older, an additional question will inquire about their current gender identity, offering response options such as male, female, transgender, non binary, or allowing individuals to specify a different term.

The bureau aims to test variations in the second gender question to evaluate whether respondents should be allowed to select multiple answers. This will be compared with responses limited to a single choice. Additionally, a verification question will be included for respondents whose answers to the gender questions do not align.

Regarding sexual orientation, respondents will be asked to choose the option that best represents how they identify, including categories such as gay or lesbian, straight, bisexual, or allowing individuals to specify another term.

This initiative underscores a concerted effort by the Census Bureau to ensure inclusivity and accuracy in its data collection, reflecting the evolving understanding of gender and sexuality in contemporary society.