How the Scottish Government collects data on Sex and Gender

The Scottish Government does not have an official definition of gender. 

In 2021, the Scottish Government published Sex, gender identity, trans status - data collection and publication: guidance. This acknowledges that the terms sex and gender are sometimes used interchangeably in data collection questions and there is no standard way that data about sex and gender identity is collected, either in Scotland or the UK. 

This guidance indicates that sex is generally defined as male or female for data collection purposes, which is a harmonised approach across the UK. 

Within the data sources used by the National Performance Framework, questions about sex and gender have been asked in different ways. In the majority of the data sources the respondent has been asked to self-identify either their gender identity or sex by selecting from a choice of binary options of man/male or woman/female. 

Some people do not identify as man/male or woman/female, but official data collections still by and large use binary questions.

Sex and Gender data in the National Performance Framework

You can view how we measure progress for each of the National Indicators that report data by Sex and Gender breakdowns by following the links below.

Alternatively you can download the underlying data for the National Indicators, including the available equality data, from the Scottish Government's Open Data platform.

There are also two National Indicators which specifically measure the gap between males and females. These are:

Pay gap
Gender balance in organisations

The National Indicators that have published Sex and Gender breakdowns, in alphabetical order.


A positive experience for people coming to live in Scotland
Access to green and blue space
Access to justice
Attendance at cultural events or places of culture


Child material deprivation
Child social and physical development
Child wellbeing and happiness
Children have positive relationships
Children's voices
Contractually secure work
Cost of living
Crime victimisation


Economic participation
Educational Attainment 
Employee voice
Employees on the living wage
Entrepreneurial Activity


Food insecurity


Health risk behaviours
Healthy life expectancy
Healthy Start
Healthy weight


Influence over local decisions


Journeys by active travel




Mental well-being


Participation in a cultural activity
Perceptions of local area
Perceptions of local crime rate
Physical activity
Places to interact
Premature mortality


Quality of care experience
Quality of public services


Relative poverty after housing costs


Skill profile of the population


Unmanageable debt


Visits to the Outdoors


Work place learning


Young people's participation

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