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Collecting and reporting data about sex and gender identity in official statistics: A guide for official statistics producers

29 February 2024
Last updated:
29 February 2024

Key Messages

This guidance document seeks to offer producers of official statistics a set of tools, based on the standards of the Code of Practice for Statistics, to help them think through how they collect and report data about sex and gender identity.

The key message of this guidance is that official statistics producers should have a strong understanding of their own data collections and how these meet the needs of their users, that producers should be clear about what information they are collecting and why, and explain this information as straightforwardly as possible both to respondents and data users.

We recognise that this is an evolving area, and we will keep this guidance under review and update when appropriate. We welcome feedback on this guidance from statistics producers and others at any time – please email

It is the responsibility of official statistics producers to determine whether there is a legitimate need to collect data about sex, gender identity, both or neither, based on identified user and respondent needs. Producers should be clear about what they are collecting and why.

Data about sex and gender identity should be explained and defined for the purpose of a particular set of statistics, and terms, including gender, should not be used interchangeably or as a substitute for each other.

Producers must have a strong understanding of their own data collections and explain the strengths and limitations of their data and statistics.

Statistics should be consistent and coherent with related statistics and data where possible.

Producers should be proportionate when applying the principles of this guidance to their data collections based on the nature of their statistics and the needs of their users.

The content of this guidance is determined by our remit as the Office for Statistics Regulation, therefore there are some areas that it does not cover:

  • This guidance does not set out harmonised standards for sex or gender identity definitions.
  • This guidance does not assume a particular question set is used to collect data about an individual’s sex and gender identity. This guidance remains relevant in its application of the principles of the Code regardless of the questions used to collect these data.
  • This guidance does not determine the requirements of relevant legislation or whether they are being adhered to.

This guidance updates and supersedes the OSR previous draft guidance on collecting and reporting data about sex in official statistics, published in 2021.

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