1285.0 - Demographic Variables, 1999  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/08/1999   
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Contents >> Sex >> Underlying concepts

Name of variable

3. The standard term for the variable is 'Sex'.

4. The term 'sex' is used rather than 'gender' because it more accurately reflects the biological distinction between males and females. In common usage the term gender is increasingly being substituted for the term sex. The ABS encourages the use of the term sex rather than gender in the statistical context because it is well understood by people of all ages and those who do not speak English as a first language. Furthermore, the term gender is frequently used (for example in psychological or sociological discussions) to refer to cultural or social differences as opposed to biological ones.

Definition of variable

Nominal definition

5. Sex is defined as the biological distinction between male and female. Where there is an inconsistency between anatomical and chromosomal characteristics, sex is based on anatomical characteristics.

6. Sex is an attribute of the counting unit 'person'.

Operational definition

7. Operationally, Sex is the distinction 'male' and 'female', as reported by a person or as determined by an interviewer.

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