Gender Census 2018: Identity words

Original Tumblr post


The survey took place between 1st February and 25th March 2018, and there were 11,241 respondents, of which 1,528 said they were living in the UK.

After the nonbinary vs. non-binary question, I asked, Which of the following best describe(s) in English how you think of yourself?

There were 23 checkbox options, and participants could check as many boxes as they wanted. You can see the spreadsheet of all 11,000+ responses for this question, as well as the graphs in more detail, here on Google Sheets.

The top five were:

  • nonbinary – 60.6% (down 5.2%)
  • trans – 34.8% (up 4.7%)
  • genderqueer – 30.8% (down 3.5%)
  • transgender – 27.9% (up 4%)
  • agender – 26.1% (down 7%)

“Transgender” dropped out of the top 5 last year, and this year it’s back – it’s been hovering between 24% and 31% since the survey began in 2013. “Genderqueer” continues its steep decline in use, and I note that “fluid gender/genderfluid” seems to be on a more shallow but steady decline too. “Enby” continues to gain popularity – it’s now at around 25%.

(Please note the lack of 2014 data in the above graph!)

This is the first year that “nonbinary” has taken a definite dip, which I think is probably because of my efforts to reduce bias by removing the words “nonbinary” and “genderqueer” from all of the promotional posts online. I’m hoping this is a good sign and the start of a more representative set of results!

Here’s a graph of all the identity words that were chosen or entered by over 1% of participants:

In all there were 1,885 unique write-ins, of which four were words that were entered by over 1% of participants, which means next year the following words will be added to the survey’s checkbox options:

  • queer – 2.9%
  • genderless – 1.1%
  • demiboy – 1.1%
  • demigirl – 1.1%
  • gender non-conforming – 1.1%

People seem to want to specify demiboy or demigirl even when demigender is an option, so I think it might be wise to remove demigender from the list and see what happens. It might be that over 1% of participants will write in demigender, in which case I will re-add it to the checkbox list.

Gender non-conforming was a tricky one to count. I had sorted the list of write-ins alphabetically and I noticed that it was being entered many times but being spelled in a lot of different ways, and therefore wasn’t being counted properly. When I searched the list for “conform” I found 23 unique spellings, 15 of which had been entered only once. When they were combined there were 122 participants entering some variation, with “gender non-conforming” being the most popular, so I will be adding that to the next survey.

Fun facts:

  • 78% of write-ins were entered only once, and 429 words were written in more than once.
  • 37% of participants used the write-in box.
  • When the write-in boxes were used, on average people wrote in 1.4 new terms each.
  • 93 people, or 0.8%, used all five boxes.
  • The mean number of identity words (including the checkboxes) was 4.1 each, and the most common number of identity words chosen/written was 3.
  • 90% of people chose 1-7 words.

Thank you for reading!


2018-06-21