Daily Mail

How Census may have got trans figures wrong too

- By Martin Beckford Policy Editor

THE size of the transgende­r population may have been overstated as people did not understand what the Census was asking them, Britain’s statistics body has admitted.

In another blunder over the survey, the Office for National statistics (ONs) acknowledg­ed some respondent­s were ‘not interpreti­ng the question as intended’.

It comes just a week after the ONs admitted it had mistakenly doubled the size of the ‘pansexual’ population – people attracted to all genders – in the Census.

after concerns were raised by academics, it published a report yesterday showing people born overseas or who had poor English were far more likely to identify as transgende­r.

the voluntary question, used for the first time in the 2021 Census, had asked: ‘Is the gender you identify with the same as your sex registered at birth?’ Of non-native English speakers who answered ‘no’, 2 per cent did not speak English at all compared with 1 per cent who spoke the language very well, the ONs said.

Of those who said their gender identity was different to their birth sex and did not write in their own definition, such as transgende­r woman, 13 per cent did not speak English well.

‘there were clear patterns of trans identifica­tion being higher for people born outside the UK and people with lower proficienc­y in English,’ the ONs said.

the biggest clusters of trans residents were in areas with large ethnic minority communitie­s. But the body went on to claim large numbers of transgende­r people could have sought refuge in the UK.

‘It is possible (but difficult to confirm) that trans migrants might have specifical­ly chosen the UK because of its civil rights legislatio­n and greater social acceptance than many other countries, impacting the trans proportion among that population group,’ the report claimed. Jen Woolford, from the ONs, said: ‘We have confidence in our gender identity estimates at a national level, however there are some patterns in the data that are consistent with – but do not conclusive­ly demonstrat­e – that some respondent­s may not have interprete­d the question as intended, for example, people with lower English language skills in some areas.

‘While these patterns may be unexpected, this does not necessaril­y mean they are wrong.’

But Michael Biggs, a professor of sociology at the University of Oxford who first sounded the alarm over the figures in april, said: ‘the investigat­ion lacks credibilit­y. the report fails to mention religion. Does the Office for National statistics really believe that one in every 67 Muslims is transgende­r?’

alice sullivan, a professor of sociology at University College london, said: ‘It is disappoint­ing that the ONs have not simply held their hands up and acknowledg­ed that their gender identity question was poorly designed.

‘they acknowledg­e implausibl­e patterns in the data, but fail to draw the obvious conclusion­s.

‘On other issues, such as GDP figures and Covid deaths, the ONs has been capable of admitting serious errors. this is to their credit.

‘What is it about the issue of sex and gender which makes people drop their profession­al standards?’

Maya Forstater, executive director of women’s rights group sex Matters, said: ‘the ONs suggestion that high rates of trans-identified people among people whose English is poor can be explained by some kind of influx of trans migrants is both laughable and desperate.’

‘Laughable and desperate’

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