The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) reported that it will not be able to include questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in the 2022 Demographic Census questionnaire, as determined by the Federal Court.
The institute informed that it called the Attorney General’s Office (AGU) to appeal the decision, otherwise it will have to postpone the census survey again.
The preliminary decision, granted by Judge Herley da Luz Brasil, of the 2nd Civil and Criminal Federal Court of Acre, responded to a request from the Federal Public Ministry (MPF), on the grounds that the lack of statistics hinders the development of policies public services aimed at the LGBTQIA+ population.
“The omission that the Brazilian State has historically used to the detriment of the LGBTQIA+ population is relevant and needs to be corrected,” the judge wrote in the decision. “Ignoring them, Brazil does not turn to LGBTQIA+ people with the state apparatus that guarantees, at least, dignity. Even the very personality of these people is denied.”
In a statement, the IBGE stated that it is not possible to include a question on sexual orientation and gender identity in the questionnaire “with responsible and adequate technique and methodology – much less with the care and respect that the topic and society deserve”. The agency also recalled that there are less than two months left for the start of the operation.
The Population Census collection is scheduled to begin on August 1st. More than 200,000 census takers are being recruited and trained to collect information in all of the country’s approximately 76 million households.
“There will be a severe financial impact, especially if the need for a methodological change is verified, if the questions need to be answered individually – requiring that the information be collected from the person himself – which would increase the need for revisits, running the risk of making the operation unfeasible. census. These changes can significantly reduce the productivity of the census taker and increase the collection time as a whole, increasing spending on monthly fees, rents, among others”, argued the IBGE, in a note.
The statistical agency says that inserting the questions into the census at the last minute, without previous studies, tests and training, “would be to ignore the complexity and rigor of a census operation of the continental size of the Brazilian – whose discussion and preparation of questionnaires and successive planning and preparations began in 2016”.
“It would be irresponsible to jeopardize the integrity of the Demographic Census as the main survey in the country, even if on an initiative inspired by legitimate causes and good intentions”, warned the IBGE.
“In this case – in order to correctly comply with the injunction of the Justice of Acre – the only possible alternative would be for the IBGE to postpone the 2022 Census. The IBGE is aware that a new postponement of the Census will impose substantial financial and social impacts, including several national plans, such as the distribution of funds from the Participation Funds of States (FPE) and Municipalities (FPM), in addition to transfers of funds destined for social programs”, he added.
The IBGE points out that it carried out approval tests for the systems used in the census operation already last year, and that the technicians in charge believe that changing these systems now for the untimely inclusion of new information would put the entire census operation at “considerable” risk.
“The measure can generate non-estimated impacts, in terms of time and quality of respondents’ answers; and, of course, will cause an increase in costs (federal resources) not included in the budget foreseen for the 2022 Census: around R$ 2.3 billion”, says the note from the institute.
“Technically and methodologically, a Census cannot be carried out in the field starting from an unstudied, untested questionnaire and with a staff not properly trained”, he added.
The statistical agency stated that questions related to gender identity and sexual orientation are already foreseen for investigation in other IBGE household surveys: Continuous National Household Sample Survey (Pnad Contínua), in the first quarter of 2023; National Health Demographic Survey (PNDS), scheduled to go into the field in the second quarter of 2023; National Health Survey (PNS), scheduled to go into the field in 2024; and in the next edition of the Household Budget Survey (POF).
Held every ten years, the Demographic Census visits all Brazilian homes. The operation should have taken place in 2020, but was postponed due to the pandemic. The lack of allocation of funds by the federal government was also an obstacle.
In 2021, the Federal Budget did not bring the necessary resources to conduct the Census, which ended up being canceled again, but this time under a determination by the Federal Supreme Court (STF) to take place in 2022. Two public tenders for hiring more than 200 thousand temporary workers had to be cancelled.
The census operation was initially budgeted by the IBGE technical team at more than R$ 3 billion, to go into the field in 2020. Amid pressure from the government to reduce the budget, the original questionnaires were reduced, and the budget shrank to R$ 2.3 billion.
In the year 2021, the amount of only R$ 53 million in the budget sanctioned by President Jair Bolsonaro made it impossible to even prepare for the survey to go to the field in 2022. Later, after the decision of the STF, the IBGE managed to ensure a supplementary budget for preparations in 2021 and funding for collection in 2022.
The information collected by the Census serves as a basis, for example, for the apportionment of the Participation Fund of states and municipalities, and is also essential for health policies, such as the need to allocate professionals and equipment for care by the Unified Health System (SUS). ) and educational policy planning.
The data are also used as a basis for sample surveys, such as the IBGE’s own Continuous National Household Sample Survey, which collects information on the labor market, such as the unemployment rate, and even for electoral surveys.
Source: CNN Brasil