Australian Government: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare METeOR Home Page

Person—sex, code X

Identifying and definitional attributes

Metadata item type:Help on this termData Element
Short name:Help on this termSex
METeOR identifier:Help on this term635126
Registration status:Help on this termHealth, Standard 11/05/2017
Early Childhood, Standard 24/07/2018
Homelessness, Standard 10/08/2018
Indigenous, Endorsed 16/10/2017
ACT Health, Final 08/08/2018
Definition:Help on this term

The distinction between male, female, and others who do not have biological characteristics typically associated with either the male or female sex, as represented by a code.

Context:Help on this term

Sex is a core metadata item in a wide range of social, labour and demographic statistics.

Data Element Concept:Person—sex

Value domain attributes

Representational attributes

Representation class:Help on this termCode
Data type:Help on this termString
Format:Help on this termX
Maximum character length:Help on this term1
Permissible values:Help on this term
ValueMeaning
1Male
2Female
3Other
Supplementary values:Help on this term
9Not stated/inadequately described

Collection and usage attributes

Guide for use:Help on this term

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Standard for Sex and Gender Variables includes the following Alternate Code system:

M    Male

F    Female

X    Other

For statistical purposes, the following category codes, labels and definitions are preferred:

CODE 1   Male

Persons who have male or predominantly masculine biological characteristics, or male sex assigned at birth.

CODE 2   Female

Persons who have female or predominantly feminine biological characteristics, or female sex assigned at birth.

CODE 3   Other

Persons who have mixed or non-binary biological characteristics (if known), or a non-binary sex assigned at birth.

The value meaning of 'Other' has been assigned to Code 3 for this value domain, which replaces 'Intersex or indeterminate' for the superseded value domain Sex code N. Terms such as 'indeterminate', 'intersex', 'non-binary', and 'unspecified' are variously used to describe the 'Other' category of sex. The label 'Other' is used because a more descriptive term has not been widely agreed within the general community.

Sex refers to the chromosomal, gonadal and anatomical characteristics associated with biological sex. Where there is an inconsistency between anatomical and chromosomal characteristics, sex is based on anatomical characteristics.

Comments:Help on this term

The ABS will periodically review its Standard for Sex and Gender Variables. This process will specifically investigate the appropriateness of the naming of the 'Other' category.

Source and reference attributes

Submitting organisation:Help on this term

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Origin:Help on this term

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016. Standard for Sex and Gender Variables (Cat. no. 1200.0.55.012). Viewed 26 July 2016.

Attorney-General's Department 2015. Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender. Viewed 26 July 2016.

Data element attributes

Collection and usage attributes

Guide for use:Help on this term

The term 'sex' refers to a person's biological characteristics. A person's sex is usually described as being either male or female; some people may have both male and female characteristics, or neither male nor female characteristics, or other sexual characteristics.

Sex is assigned at birth and is relatively fixed. However, a person's sex may change during their lifetime as a result of procedures commonly referred to as sex change, gender reassignment, gender affirmation, transsexual surgery, transgender reassignment or sexual reassignment. Throughout this process, which may be over a considerable period of time, sex may be recorded as either male, female or other.

Collection of sex excludes gender information, which is interrelated but conceptually distinct. The concept of sex is based on the physical or biological aspects of a person's body while the concept of gender relates to the way a person feels, presents and is recognised within the general community and may refer to outward social markers such as their name, outward appearance, mannerisms and dress. Sexual orientation is a separate concept to sex and gender, involving a person's emotional or sexual attraction to another person, and is not covered in the collection of sex information.

In general, both sex and gender should not be collected in a single collection instrument. The Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender recommends the preferred Australian Government approach of collecting and using gender information, with sex only being collected where there is a legitimate need to know the biological characteristics of the target population. It should be recognised that in some cases an individual may choose to report their gender when sex is being requested.

Organisations should ensure when they collect sex and/or gender information they use the correct terminology for the information they are seeking. Male and female are predominantly associated with the set of biological attributes that define the different types of sexes, while masculine and feminine characteristics are predominantly associated with the set of factors that make up gender. However, it should be recognised that male/female and masculine/feminine are sometimes used interchangeably to refer to sex and/or gender.

Collection methods:Help on this term

Standard Question Module

For the collection of sex, the following standard tick box question module could be used:

What is your sex? Please [tick/mark/select] one box.

[] Male

[] Female

[] Other, please specify _______________

Mandatory elements

The following elements should be included:

  • the word 'sex' in the question to clearly articulate the concept being collected;
  • label the response options 'Male', 'Female' and 'Other'; and
  • a note that only one response is permitted.

Optional elements

The following elements may be included:

  • the response option for 'Other' is labelled 'Other, please specify'; and
  • a write-in facility is available when the 'Other' response option is selected.

The inclusion of the write-in facility for 'Other' allows respondents the opportunity to describe their sex using a term they are comfortable with, whilst also maximising the potential for analysis of the responses provided. Where the 'Other' code has been selected for sex, the data element Person—sex, text X[X(99)] may be used to capture any further (optional) specification of sex descriptors.

Allowable variations

Minor variations to the question wording are allowed. For example:

Which of the following describes your sex? Please [tick/mark/select] one box

or

Sex, please [tick/mark/select] one box.

Optional inclusions

Organisations should refrain from making assumptions about a person's sex based on indicators such as their name, voice or appearance. Respondents should be presented with all response options for sex. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Standard for Sex and Gender Variables recommends a standard script explaining the importance of the question. Refer to the ABS standard for explanatory information that can be included in self-completed questionnaires (e.g., web forms and paper forms), or read in face-to-face and telephone interviews. The inclusion of explanatory material is optional and at the discretion of those undertaking the collection.

Supplementary values

CODE 9   Not stated/inadequately described

This supplementary value is used to code inadequately described responses and non-responses for sex. It is not to be used on primary collection forms. It is primarily for use in administrative collections when transferring data from data sets where the item has not been collected.

Source and reference attributes

Submitting organisation:Help on this term

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Origin:Help on this term

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016. Standard for Sex and Gender Variables (Cat. no. 1200.0.55.012). Viewed 26 July 2016.

Attorney-General's Department 2015. Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender. Viewed 26 July 2016.

Reference documents:Help on this term

AS4846 Health Care Provider Identification, 2014, Sydney: Standards Australia

AS4590 Interchange of Client Information, 2008, Sydney: Standards Australia

Relational attributes

Related metadata references:Help on this term

See also Person—gender, code X Health, Standard 11/05/2017, ACT Health, Final 02/01/2019

See also Person—sex, code A Commonwealth Department of Health, Standard 14/10/2015

See also Person—sex, code A WA Health, Endorsed 19/03/2015

Supersedes Person—sex, code N Housing assistance, Standard 10/02/2006, Health, Superseded 11/05/2017, Early Childhood, Superseded 24/07/2018, Homelessness, Superseded 10/08/2018, WA Health, Draft 23/08/2012, Independent Hospital Pricing Authority, Standard 01/11/2012, Indigenous, Archived 16/10/2017, Commonwealth Department of Health, Candidate 16/07/2015, Disability, Standard 07/10/2014, Children and Families, Standard 22/11/2016, Community Services (retired), Standard 25/08/2005, National Health Performance Authority (retired), Retired 01/07/2016

See also Person—sex, text X[X(99)] Health, Standard 11/05/2017

Is used in the formation of Record—linkage key, code 581 XXXXXDDMMYYYYX Health, Standard 25/01/2018, Homelessness, Standard 10/08/2018, ACT Health, Final 09/08/2018

Implementation in Data Set Specifications:Help on this term
All attributes +

Activity based funding: Mental health care NBEDS 2018-19 Health, Superseded 12/12/2018

DSS specific attributes +

Activity based funding: Mental health care NBEDS 2019-20 Health, Standard 12/12/2018

DSS specific attributes +

Activity based funding: Mental health care NBEDS 2020–21 Health, Standardisation pending 20/11/2019

DSS specific attributes +

Activity based funding: Non-admitted patient NBEDS 2018-19 Independent Hospital Pricing Authority, Superseded 30/06/2019

DSS specific attributes +

Admitted patient care NMDS 2018-19 Health, Superseded 12/12/2018
ACT Health, Final 09/08/2018

DSS specific attributes +

Admitted patient care NMDS 2019-20 Health, Standard 12/12/2018

DSS specific attributes +

Admitted patient care NMDS 2020–21 Health, Standardisation pending 01/10/2019

DSS specific attributes +

Alcohol and other drug treatment services NMDS 2018-19 Health, Superseded 12/12/2018
ACT Health, Final 09/08/2018

DSS specific attributes +

Alcohol and other drug treatment services NMDS 2019–20 Health, Standard 12/12/2018

DSS specific attributes +

Alcohol and other drug treatment services NMDS 2020–21 Health, Standardisation pending 06/08/2019

DSS specific attributes +

Allied health admitted patient care NBPDS Health, Standard 12/12/2018

Allied health non-admitted patient emergency department NBPDS Health, Standard 12/12/2018

Allied health non-admitted patient NBPDS Health, Standard 12/12/2018

Cardiovascular disease (clinical) NBPDS Health, Standard 17/10/2018

Community mental health care NMDS 2018–19 Health, Superseded 12/12/2018
ACT Health, Final 09/08/2018

DSS specific attributes +

Community mental health care NMDS 2019–20 Health, Standard 12/12/2018

DSS specific attributes +

Community mental health care NMDS 2020–21 Health, Standardisation pending 26/11/2019

DSS specific attributes +

Early Childhood Education and Care: Unit Record Level NMDS 2018– Early Childhood, Standard 24/07/2018

DSS specific attributes +

Indigenous primary health care NBEDS 2017–18 Health, Superseded 06/09/2018
Indigenous, Archived 22/10/2018

DSS specific attributes +

Indigenous primary health care NBEDS 2018–19 Health, Superseded 12/12/2018
Indigenous, Archived 02/04/2019

DSS specific attributes +

Indigenous primary health care NBEDS 2019–20 Health, Standard 12/12/2018
Indigenous, Endorsed 02/04/2019

DSS specific attributes +

Indigenous primary health care NBEDS 2020–21 Health, Candidate 05/12/2019

DSS specific attributes +

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program NBEDS 2018–19 Health, Superseded 12/12/2018

DSS specific attributes +

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program NBEDS 2019–20 Health, Standard 12/12/2018

DSS specific attributes +

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program NBEDS 2020–21 Health, Standardisation pending 15/11/2019

DSS specific attributes +

Non-admitted patient emergency department care NBEDS 2018-19 Health, Superseded 12/12/2018

DSS specific attributes +

Non-admitted patient emergency department care NBEDS 2019–20 Health, Standard 12/12/2018

DSS specific attributes +

Non-admitted patient emergency department care NMDS 2018-19 Health, Superseded 12/12/2018
ACT Health, Final 08/08/2018

DSS specific attributes +

Non-admitted patient emergency department care NMDS 2019–20 Health, Standard 12/12/2018

DSS specific attributes +

Non-admitted patient emergency department care NMDS 2020–21 Health, Standardisation pending 30/09/2019

DSS specific attributes +

Non-admitted patient NBEDS 2018-19 Health, Superseded 12/12/2018

DSS specific attributes +

Non-admitted patient NBEDS 2019-20 Health, Standard 12/12/2018
Independent Hospital Pricing Authority, Standard 01/07/2019

DSS specific attributes +

Non-admitted patient NBEDS 2020–21 Health, Standardisation pending 30/09/2019

DSS specific attributes +

Perinatal NMDS 2018-19 Health, Superseded 12/12/2018
ACT Health, Final 14/08/2018

DSS specific attributes +

Perinatal NMDS 2019–20 Health, Standard 12/12/2018

DSS specific attributes +

Perinatal NMDS 2020–21 Health, Standardisation pending 17/09/2019

DSS specific attributes +

Public dental waiting times NMDS 2018- Health, Standard 25/01/2018
ACT Health, Final 08/08/2018

DSS specific attributes +

Radiotherapy waiting times NMDS 2018- Health, Standard 25/01/2018
ACT Health, Final 08/08/2018

DSS specific attributes +

Residential mental health care NMDS 2018–19 Health, Superseded 12/12/2018
ACT Health, Final 09/08/2018

DSS specific attributes +

Residential mental health care NMDS 2019–20 Health, Standard 12/12/2018

DSS specific attributes +

Residential mental health care NMDS 2020–21 Health, Standardisation pending 26/11/2019

DSS specific attributes +

Sex of prison entrants cluster Health, Standardisation pending 30/05/2018

DSS specific attributes +

Statistical linkage key 581 cluster Health, Standard 25/01/2018
Homelessness, Standard 10/08/2018
ACT Health, Final 09/08/2018

DSS specific attributes +
Implementation in Indicators:Help on this termUsed as numerator
Indigenous primary health care: PI19a-Number of regular clients with a selected chronic disease who have had a kidney function test with results within specified levels, 2015-2017 Health, Superseded 17/10/2018
Indigenous, Archived 17/10/2018
Indigenous primary health care: PI19a-Number of regular clients with a selected chronic disease who have had a kidney function test with results within specified levels, 2018-2019 Health, Standard 17/10/2018
Indigenous, Endorsed 17/10/2018
Indigenous primary health care: PI19a-Number of regular clients with a selected chronic disease who have had a kidney function test with results within specified levels, 2020–2021 Health, Standardisation pending 24/09/2019
Indigenous, Final 08/08/2019
Indigenous primary health care: PI19b-Proportion of regular clients with a selected chronic disease who have had a kidney function test with results within specified levels, 2015-2017 Health, Superseded 17/10/2018
Indigenous, Archived 17/10/2018
Indigenous primary health care: PI19b-Proportion of regular clients with a selected chronic disease who have had a kidney function test with results within specified levels, 2018-2019 Health, Standard 17/10/2018
Indigenous, Endorsed 17/10/2018
Indigenous primary health care: PI19b-Proportion of regular clients with a selected chronic disease who have had a kidney function test with results within specified levels, 2020–2021 Health, Standardisation pending 24/09/2019
Indigenous, Final 08/08/2019
Indigenous primary health care: PI20a-Number of regular clients who have had the necessary risk factors assessed to enable cardiovascular disease (CVD) assessment, 2018-2019 Health, Standard 17/10/2018
Indigenous, Endorsed 17/10/2018
Indigenous primary health care: PI20a-Number of regular clients who have had the necessary risk factors assessed to enable cardiovascular disease (CVD) assessment, 2020–2021 Health, Standardisation pending 24/09/2019
Indigenous, Final 08/08/2019
Indigenous primary health care: PI20a-Number of regular clients who have had the necessary risk factors assessed to enable CVD assessment, 2015-2017 Health, Superseded 17/10/2018
Indigenous, Archived 17/10/2018
Indigenous primary health care: PI20b-Proportion of regular clients who have had the necessary risk factors assessed to enable cardiovascular disease (CVD) assessment, 2018-2019 Health, Standard 17/10/2018
Indigenous, Endorsed 17/10/2018
Indigenous primary health care: PI20b-Proportion of regular clients who have had the necessary risk factors assessed to enable cardiovascular disease (CVD) assessment, 2020–2021 Health, Standardisation pending 24/09/2019
Indigenous, Final 08/08/2019
Indigenous primary health care: PI20b-Proportion of regular clients who have had the necessary risk factors assessed to enable CVD assessment, 2015-2017 Health, Superseded 17/10/2018
Indigenous, Archived 17/10/2018
Indigenous primary health care: PI22a-Number of regular clients who have had a cervical screening, 2015-2017 Health, Superseded 17/10/2018
Indigenous, Archived 17/10/2018
Indigenous primary health care: PI22a-Number of regular clients who have had a cervical screening, 2018-2019 Health, Standard 17/10/2018
Indigenous, Endorsed 17/10/2018
Indigenous primary health care: PI22a-Number of regular clients who have had a cervical screening, 2020–2021 Health, Standardisation pending 24/09/2019
Indigenous, Final 08/08/2019
Indigenous primary health care: PI22b-Proportion of regular clients who have had a cervical screening, 2015-2017 Health, Superseded 17/10/2018
Indigenous, Archived 17/10/2018
Indigenous primary health care: PI22b-Proportion of regular clients who have had a cervical screening, 2018-2019 Health, Standard 17/10/2018
Indigenous, Endorsed 17/10/2018
Indigenous primary health care: PI22b-Proportion of regular clients who have had a cervical screening, 2020–2021 Health, Standardisation pending 24/09/2019
Indigenous, Final 08/08/2019
National Healthcare Agreement: PI 24–Survival of people diagnosed with notifiable cancers, 2020 Health, Standardisation pending 29/11/2019
Used as denominator
Australian Health Performance Framework: PI 3.1.2–Incidence of selected cancers, 2019 Health, Standardisation pending 03/12/2019
Indigenous primary health care: PI13b-Proportion of regular clients who had their first antenatal care visit within specified periods, 2015-2017 Health, Superseded 17/10/2018
Indigenous, Archived 17/10/2018
Indigenous primary health care: PI13b-Proportion of regular clients who had their first antenatal care visit within specified periods, 2018-2019 Health, Standard 17/10/2018
Indigenous, Endorsed 17/10/2018
Indigenous primary health care: PI13b-Proportion of regular clients who had their first antenatal care visit within specified periods, 2020–2021 Health, Standardisation pending 24/09/2019
Indigenous, Final 08/08/2019
Indigenous primary health care: PI19b-Proportion of regular clients with a selected chronic disease who have had a kidney function test with results within specified levels, 2015-2017 Health, Superseded 17/10/2018
Indigenous, Archived 17/10/2018
Indigenous primary health care: PI19b-Proportion of regular clients with a selected chronic disease who have had a kidney function test with results within specified levels, 2018-2019 Health, Standard 17/10/2018
Indigenous, Endorsed 17/10/2018
Indigenous primary health care: PI19b-Proportion of regular clients with a selected chronic disease who have had a kidney function test with results within specified levels, 2020–2021 Health, Standardisation pending 24/09/2019
Indigenous, Final 08/08/2019
Indigenous primary health care: PI20b-Proportion of regular clients who have had the necessary risk factors assessed to enable cardiovascular disease (CVD) assessment, 2018-2019 Health, Standard 17/10/2018
Indigenous, Endorsed 17/10/2018
Indigenous primary health care: PI20b-Proportion of regular clients who have had the necessary risk factors assessed to enable cardiovascular disease (CVD) assessment, 2020–2021 Health, Standardisation pending 24/09/2019
Indigenous, Final 08/08/2019
Indigenous primary health care: PI20b-Proportion of regular clients who have had the necessary risk factors assessed to enable CVD assessment, 2015-2017 Health, Superseded 17/10/2018
Indigenous, Archived 17/10/2018
Indigenous primary health care: PI22b-Proportion of regular clients who have had a cervical screening, 2015-2017 Health, Superseded 17/10/2018
Indigenous, Archived 17/10/2018
Indigenous primary health care: PI22b-Proportion of regular clients who have had a cervical screening, 2018-2019 Health, Standard 17/10/2018
Indigenous, Endorsed 17/10/2018
Indigenous primary health care: PI22b-Proportion of regular clients who have had a cervical screening, 2020–2021 Health, Standardisation pending 24/09/2019
Indigenous, Final 08/08/2019
National Healthcare Agreement: PI 02–Incidence of selected cancers, 2020 Health, Standardisation pending 29/11/2019
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