Census 2022 to automatically assign male or female sex to those who choose not to declare

The 2022 form will include a question on biological sex with only male or female options available. If you choose to tick both, they'll decide one themselves.

Census 2022 will preclude non-binary biological sex. The photograph shows a close up of someone filling out a form by hand. This story details the random assignment of 'male' or 'female' for those who leave gender blank on census.
Image: Alex Green via Pexels

According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), anyone who chooses not to declare their biological sex in the 2022 Census will automatically have male or female assigned to them. 

The Census, which is scheduled to take place on Sunday, April 3, 2022, will include a question on biological sex with the only answer options being male or female. 

On their website, they advise, “If you are uncomfortable ticking one of these options you may signal this by marking both boxes. However, for statistical analysis purposes all entries will be assigned a sex, where this is not clearly indicated on a Census form it will be assigned at random.”

The website maintains that “EU legislation requires the Census to ask this question and also dictates that the only answers that can be provided are male or female.”

In defence, the website continues, “The CSO recognise the importance of accounting for gender identity as distinct from sex. Work is actively underway to introduce a question on gender identity for the next Census.

“So while there is no question on gender identity in the 2022 Census, it is anticipated that it will be included in the next Census.”

In addition to the lack of a gender identity question precluding Trans, non-binary or gender-fluid persons from self-identifying, the binary nature of the question on biological sex actively omits many with an intersex condition from accurate representation.

Despite this, the Irish Times reports that a spokesperson for the CSO maintained that the random allocation of male or female to those who chose not to identify would not have a statistical impact. 

However, this contradicts the website, which states, “Almost all information collected on the Census form is analysed by age and sex. This information helps us to understand the changing roles of males and females in households, communities and workplaces.”

In a statement, the CSO spokesperson said, “There will be a public consultation later this year on what questions should go into the Census after the one scheduled for April.”

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