Inclusive Survey Design: Collecting Data on Sexual and Gender Minorities

Written by: The DHS Program

12 Apr, 2023

In response to interest from country-level stakeholders around the inclusion of sexual and gender minorities in DHS surveys, The DHS Program has been documenting the experiences of surveys that have included adaptations to account for and measure topics related to gender and sexual minorities. On March 28, 2023, The DHS Program held a webinar to share our lessons learned and to learn from other’s experiences collecting survey data on sexual and gender minorities. Deputy Chief for Data Quality, Blake Zachary, and Senior Advisor for Research and Analysis, Kerry MacQuarrie, presented on the standard DHS survey process, how The DHS Program’s roots in demography have influenced how gender is conceptualized in surveys, how gender data are typically collected in standard DHS survey instruments, examples of DHS surveys which have collected data on sexual and gender minorities, as well as key lessons learned from these surveys. A recording of the webinar is available below.

The DHS Program is in the process of developing recommendations on standardized means of including sexual and gender minority related topics in DHS surveys. Data collected in DHS surveys are designed to be used for the creation, monitoring, and evaluation of programs and policies to improve health and wellbeing. The DHS Program would like to know more about perceived data needs or data gaps to measure and evaluate health among gender and sexual minorities, as well as best practices for how to do this in a standardized way. Please share your thoughts and experiences in this brief survey.


  • The Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) Program has collected, analyzed, and disseminated accurate and representative data on population, health, HIV, and nutrition through more than 400 surveys in over 90 countries. The DHS Program is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Contributions from other donors, as well as funds from participating countries, also support surveys. The project is implemented by ICF.

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