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

Associated Press

Stock market today: World shares are mixed after a tech-led retreat on Wall Street

World shares were mixed on Thursday after sinking technology stocks sent Wall Street lower again. Germany’s DAX slipped 0.1% to 17,756.81 while the CAC 40 in Paris added 0.4% to 8,010.04. In London, the FTSE 100 edged 0.1% higher, to 7,857.46. The future for the S&P 500 was up 0.3% while that for the Dow […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Takeaways from this week’s reports on the deadly 2023 Maui fire that destroyed Lahaina

HONOLULU (AP) — More than half a year after the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century burned through a historic Maui town, officials are still trying to determine exactly what went wrong and how to prevent similar catastrophes in the future. But two reports released this week are filling in some of the […]

5 hours ago

A anti-abortion supporter stands outside the House chamber, Wednesday, April 17, 2024, at the Capit...

Associated Press

Democrats clear path to bring proposed repeal of Arizona’s near-total abortion ban to a vote

Democrats in the Arizona Senate cleared a path to bring a proposed repeal of the state’s near-total ban on abortions to a vote.

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Oklahoma man arrested after authorities say he threw a pipe bomb at Satanic Temple in Massachusetts

BOSTON (AP) — An Oklahoma man was arrested Wednesday after authorities accused him of throwing a pipe bomb at the Massachusetts headquarters of a group called The Satanic Temple. The Salem-based group says on its website that it campaigns for secularism and individual liberties, and that its members don’t actually worship Satan. Sean Patrick Palmer, […]

10 hours ago

Associated Press

Ellen Ash Peters, first female chief justice of Connecticut Supreme Court, dies at 94

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Ellen Ash Peters, who was the first woman to serve as Connecticut’s chief justice and wrote the majority opinion in the state Supreme Court’s landmark school desegregation ruling in 1996, has died. She was 94. Peters, who also was the first female faculty member at Yale Law School, passed away Tuesday, […]

12 hours ago

Associated Press

Vermont farms are still recovering from flooding as they enter the growing season

BERLIN, Vt. (AP) — Hundreds of Vermont farms are still recovering from last July’s catastrophic flooding and other extreme weather as they head into this year’s growing season. Dog River Farm, in Berlin, Vermont, lost nearly all its produce crops in the July flooding. The farm removed truckloads of river silt and sand from the […]

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.


Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

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