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People and places People

Overview

When referring to groups of people, use:

  • people not persons in text (“persons” can be used in tables)
  • adults: men and women
  • children up to age 16 years: boys and girls
  • a mixture of adults and children: males and females
  • children up to age 16 years: “young people” or “under 16s”; read more about how to write about age
  • “disabled people” or “people with disabilities” not “the disabled” or “the handicapped”; read more in our disability section
  • “homeless people” not “the homeless”
  • “older people” not “the elderly”

Remember that common usage changes over time, so be sensitive. If in doubt, ask people for their preference or use the terminology that groups use to refer to themselves.

People's characteristics

Read our detailed guidance on how to refer to:

Age

Read our guidance on how to write and format someone's age.

Children, kids and young people

In statistical releases, use the legal definition of “children” for anyone aged under 18 years.

Outside of statistical releases, content should always be designed so that the user is directly addressed, using “you”.

If speaking to a parent, use “your child”.

If a page is aimed at both parents and their children, you should split the page into sections using headings.

When referring to 13- to 18-year-olds, use “young people”.

If referring to broader age ranges, for example, 10- to 18-year-olds, use “children and young people”.

Job titles

Job titles should be lower case, except when attributed to a person.

managing director
chief executive
prime minister
Sir Ian Diamond, National Statistician
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

Capital letters are always used for The King.

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