Proposed questions on sexual orientation and gender identity for the Census Bureau’s biggest survey

Feb 16, 2024, 6:39 AM

FILE - Pride flags are held at the Tennessee Capitol, Jan. 22, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. Dozens of ...

FILE - Pride flags are held at the Tennessee Capitol, Jan. 22, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. Dozens of health officials, civil rights groups, individuals and businesses have weighed in about how the U.S. Census Bureau should ask about sexual orientation and gender identity for the first time on its most comprehensive survey of American life. An Associated Press review of the 91 written public comments posted in January 2024 shows them to be largely supportive of the proposed additions, though not without constructive criticism. (AP Photo/George Walker IV, File)

(AP Photo/George Walker IV, File)

The U.S. Census Bureau this year plans to test questions about sexual orientation and gender identity for its most comprehensive survey of American life.

The test questions will be sent to 480,000 households, with the statistical agency expecting just over half to respond.

If the questions are approved, it will be the first time sexual orientation and gender identity questions are asked on the disabilities and military service, among other topics.

During the test, people will be able to respond to the questions online, by mail, over the phone or through in-person interviews. People who fill out the American Community Survey form typically answer the questions for the other members of their household in what is called a proxy response.

Given privacy concerns, the agency is proposing using flash cards for in-person interviews and using numbered response categories for people who don’t want others in their household to know their responses.

A look at the the proposed test questions:

For everyone:

Gender question one: What sex was Name assigned at birth?

Possible answers: Male; female.

For people age 15 and older:

Gender question two: What is Name’s current gender?

Possible answers: Male; Female; Transgender; Nonbinary; and “This person uses a different term” (with a space to write in a response).

The second gender question will be tested in two different ways to determine whether to give respondents the opportunity to select multiple answers.

Responses to the questions that allow people to select multiple categories will be compared with responses allowing only one answer.

The agency also plans to add what it describes as a “verification” question for anyone whose responses on the two gender questions don’t match.

Sexual orientation question: Which of the following best represents how Name thinks of themselves?

Possible answers: Gay or lesbian; Straight — that is not gay or lesbian; Bisexual; and This person uses a different term (with space to write-in a response).


Follow Mike Schneider on X: @MikeSchneiderAP.

United States News


KTAR Video

Video: Why Joe Biden is trailing in Arizona voter polls

Donald Trump is garnering more support in Arizona than Joe Biden ahead of the 2024 presidential election, according to a poll released Wednesday. Mike Noble, CEO of Noble Predictive Insights (NPI), joined Mike Broomhead to discuss their poll that shows Trump at 44% and Biden at 41%, with 15% of likely voters undecided. Video: Jeremy […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Tennessee to become first state to offer free diapers for Medicaid families

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee will soon become the first state in the country to offer free diapers to families enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program after receiving federal approval, state officials have confirmed. According to TennCare, Tennessee’s Medicaid program, families will be able to receive up to 100 diapers per month for children under […]

2 hours ago


KTAR Video

Video: Should Joe Biden and Donald Trump be worried about a third-party candidate in Arizona?

A new election poll in Arizona shows Donald Trump leading in Arizona, but should Joe Biden and the former president be worried about a third party candidate? Jim Sharpe explains more in Wednesday’s Sharper Point commentary. Video: Jeremy Schnell and Felisa Cárdenas/KTAR News Photos: Spencer Platt, Brandon Bell/Getty Images

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Authorities still conducting search, rescue after tornado slams Iowa; at least 1 dead

GREENFIELD, Iowa (AP) — Authorities in Iowa were continuing search and rescue efforts Wednesday, a day after a deadly tornado slammed the state, devastating the town of Greenfield and killing an undisclosed number of people there. About 25 miles (40 kilometers) southwest of Greenfield, a woman died Tuesday when the vehicle she was driving was […]

14 hours ago

Former President Donald Trump sits in a courtroom next to his lawyer Todd Blanche before the start ...

Associated Press

Trump hush money trial enters new phase after defense rests without testimony from former president

Donald Trump's hush money trial is now closer to the moment when the jury will begin deciding the former president's fate.

17 hours ago

Associated Press

Rangers recover the body of a Japanese climber who died on North America’s tallest peak

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Rangers have recovered the body of a Japanese man who died after an apparent fall while climbing North America’s tallest peak, authorities said Tuesday. Denali National Park and Preserve identified the climber as T. Hagiwara, from Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. He was identified by his first initial in keeping with his family’s […]

17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Proposed questions on sexual orientation and gender identity for the Census Bureau’s biggest survey