The 2023 Census will be the first to ask everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand about their gender, sexual identity, and whether they have any variations of sex characteristics (also known as intersex status), Stats NZ have said.

The confirmation came through the publication of the 2023 Census: Final content report, which confirms all the topics that will be collected in the 2023 Census.

“People’s sense of their gender and sexual identity is really important to them and can impact on their lives and experiences. The census touches everyone and will provide a detailed picture of how people with diverse genders and sexual identities experience life in Aotearoa New Zealand. The data will also inform better decision making and provision of services for the Rainbow community,” social and population insights general manager Jason Attewell said.


“We are already collecting sexual identity and gender in our other household surveys and that is going well. It is important that everyone is able to see themselves in – and take part in – the census.”

Collecting information on gender and sexual identity in the census will allow more detailed geographic breakdowns of the data produced than may be possible for data collected in household surveys.

The 2023 Census also marks the first time in any Stats NZ survey that information will be collected on variations of sex characteristics (also known as intersex status).

“This is exciting because for the first time we will have data about the intersex community and just how many people in Aotearoa New Zealand are part of this community,” Mr Attewell said.

Questions on sexual identity (for example, heterosexual, gay, or lesbian) and variations of sex characteristics will only be asked of people aged 15 years or older.

Just as for other information collected in the census, it will be important to get good quality responses to these new questions. This will help ensure the data is of sufficient quality to be released and fit for use by communities and decision-makers. If the data is not of sufficient quality, we may not be able to release it.

“The most important thing people can do to ensure we can release data for every question is to fill in all of their census form. The more answers we collect, the better the quality of the data and the more useful and usable it will be,” Deputy Government Statistician and Deputy Chief Executive for Census and Collection Operations Simon Mason said. 

“We know we have a part to play too, by making the census accessible and easy for everyone to complete, and we’re working hard to do this.”

Final decisions on the content for the 2023 Census were informed by engagement and testing following the publication of the preliminary views on 2023 Census content in 2020.