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Classification and coding process

Classification criteria

The criterion used to classify a person’s gender identity is self-defined. It is the gender identity the person provides.

The scope of the classification covers the spectrum of gender identities, including agender.


The standard classification of gender identity is a hierarchical classification of two levels. Level 1 of the classification has three categories. Level 2 has six categories.

Classification of gender identity

  1. Male
    11   Male / Tāne
  2. Female
    21   Female / Wahine
  3. Gender diverse
    30   Gender diverse not further defined / Ira tāngata kōwhiri kore
    31   Transgender male to female / Whakawahine
    32   Transgender female to male / Tangata ira tāne
    39   Gender diverse not elsewhere classified / Ira tāngata kōwhiri kore
Concept Gender identity
Classification Statistical classification of gender identity
Abbreviation SCGI
Version V1.0
Effective date 17 July 2015

A general review of the statistical standard for gender identity is scheduled to take place in three years (2018).

Coding process


When a gender identity question is asked, information about the collection’s need for asking detailed gender diversity information must be available to respondents. It should include the privacy and confidentiality rules that the data collection will adhere to.

Gender identity is self-defined and not to be confused with sex; they are different concepts (see glossary). We suggest that when you need to ask questions on both gender identity and sex, the sex question should precede gender identity. You need to word the sex and gender identity questions clearly, so the question concepts of sex and gender identity are differentiated and the respondent knows what information is being asked.

When both sex and gender identity information are required (particularly in the health and disability sector, or for sociological research), asking both questions can outline a person’s identity journey – it can be very personal. You should only ask both sex and gender identity questions at the same time when there is good reason for such information.

The ‘gender diverse not further defined’ (nfd) category of level 2 in the classification contains non-specific gender identity responses, such as trans or transgender.

The ‘gender diverse not elsewhere classified’ (nec) category of level 2 in the classification contains specific responses that are infrequent or unanticipated such as non-binary.

When a stated gender identity response is ‘no gender’, ‘agender’, or is elsewhere within the male/female spectrum, the response is covered by the umbrella term gender diverse. It is classified as ‘gender diverse’ for level 1 in the classification, or ‘gender diverse not elsewhere classified’ for level 2 in the classification.

People may identify with more than one gender identity. These responses are classified as gender diverse when collecting level 1 information. When collecting detailed information about gender identity, multiple responses are classified to the relevant detailed categories. Where this is not possible multiple responses are classified to gender diverse not elsewhere classified.

For some people, the gender identity question may be too personal and they may refuse to answer. A refusal/objection-to-answer response is recorded under the residual category response ‘refused to answer’. If the question is unanswered and left blank, then the response is recorded under the residual category ‘not stated’. Residual categories are applied as part of the operational coding practice.

See Residual categories for definitions of residual terms.


In general, gender identity cannot be imputed. However, when full coverage is required Statistics NZ can provide guidance on this matter, on a case-by-case basis.

Synonym report

We maintain a synonym report/list for gender identity. A synonym report is used to classify gender identity responses. It is a list of probable responses and the classification categories to which they are coded. For example, the synonym report for gender identity lists all variations of gender identities, and popular and similar gender identity terms used by the population. This can include abbreviations, slang, and some common misspellings.

The gender identity terms listed in the synonym report are popular today and may be superseded in the future by new terms. In order to keep up-to-date, we will review the synonym report and classification at regular intervals.

Email if you would like a copy of the gender identity synonym report.

Use the Classification Coding System and Classification Code Finder tools for help to code question responses.

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