Gender of person

Status: This standard was approved as a recommended standard on January 25, 2018.


Gender refers to the gender that a person internally feels ('gender identity' along the gender spectrum) and/or the gender a person publicly expresses ('gender expression') in their daily life, including at work, while shopping or accessing other services, in their housing environment or in the broader community. A person's current gender may differ from the sex a person was assigned at birth (male or female) and may differ from what is indicated on their current legal documents. A person's gender may change over time.

Person refers to an individual and is the unit of analysis for most social statistics programs.


Sex and gender refer to two different concepts. Caution should be exercised when comparing counts for sex with those for gender. For example, female sex is not the same as female gender.

The variable 'Gender of person' and the 'Classification of gender' are expected to be used by most social statistics programs. The variable 'Sex of person' and the 'Classification of sex' are to be used where information on sex at birth is needed, for example for some demographic and health indicators.

Conformity to relevant internationally recognized standards

This standard refers to the gender that a person internally feels and/or the gender a person publicly expresses. The World Health Organization's 'Gender, equity and human rights, Glossary of terms and tools' differs from this standard by referring to gender as the socially constructed characteristics of men and women.


Additional information


Relation to previous version

  • Gender of person January 25, 2018 to current

    This is the current standard.

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