We are looking for best practices to train our phone interviewers on how to best handle situations when a respondent does not identify as Male or Female when we ask the sex question.
We have a long terms plan to change the questions to include the full spectrum of sexual orientation / gender identity choices, but at the moment we are in need of improving our phone interviewer training to ensure we properly and sensibly handle these situations.
Since the ACS / Decennial Census only collects the Male / Female also, I was wondering if anyone has come across their interviewer training manual or any guidance on this area
The format of the American Community Survey question on sex must be consistent with the question on sex approved for use in the Decennial Census. Both formats ask respondents “What is this person’s sex?” with instructions to mark one box – either male or female. The response options fully represent sex. Thus, we cannot change the response options for the question on sex in the American Community Survey. The term “sex” is used in the decennial census and the American Community Survey because the Census Bureau intends to collect information on sex rather than on gender. The purpose of the question is to collect information on the biological attributes of men and women (chromosomes, anatomy, hormones, etc.) rather than on gender. Gender is a social construction whereby a society or culture assigns certain tendencies or behaviors to the labels of masculine or feminine. These assignments may differ across cultures and among people within a culture (and even across time). Gender may or may not correlate precisely with sex - depending on the society or culture or time period. Wording of the question on sex very specifically intends to capture a person's biological sex and not their gender. An individual's response to the question on sex is based upon self-identification. Therefore, each individual must determine how he or she will respond to this question.
Thanks Caleb for the detailed response. How does the Census / ACS handle responses that are not Male or Female to the sex question? Do they use imputation? If so, what are the details on the imputation?
For the NRFU or phone version, do the answer choices include a "Refusal", "Other - write in" so interviewers can collect responses other than Male or Female?
I haven't been able to find an interviewer manual or imputation description in the technical documents for ACS or Decennial Census.
Thanks Caleb. I appreciate the explanation and walking me through the details.
I am specifically referring to the "sex" question with the Male/Female choices as asked in the ACS / Decennial Census today. Even though most respondents probably select Male/Female, there would be a subset that would not so my main ask is to understand in more detail how the Census handles these scenarios real time ---- especially during NRFU in person interview / or the phone version of the ACS. Does the CATI or CAPI version include a Refuse/DK or write in choice so the interview is able to proceed with the survey when respondents do not pick MALE OR FEMALE?
In terms of missing data.... Is there anyone at the Census you would recommend me to contact to get more details on the imputation model used for the sex question today beyond what you have describe in your last paragraph. I was looking for a technical reference of the imputation specifications but was not able to locate it in the Census website.
Thanks in advance for you guidance here.