The 2011 UK Census offers a great opportunity to demonstrate the numbers of people interested in earth-based or nature-based religious/spiritual paths. Ideally we’d like to be able to tick a box that states exactly what our affiliation is – but that won’t be possible, so for the moment we must make do with one box headed ‘Pagan’. Even if you don’t describe yourself as a Pagan, and prefer a term like Druid/Wiccan/Nature-based etc., it still makes sense for pragmatic purposes to tick the one box that gets close to what you might believe. Here’s how Caitlin Matthews puts it:
I’m placing the following announcement in my website and newsletter, having just received final confirmation from the Census Office – I pass it on to you for what it’s worth to all Pagan affiliates out there. Of course, there will be some who leave this optional box empty for their own reasons, but if we want to change society by representative means, including all the alternative people of spirit who miss out on the usual big five box specials on forms, this might make a difference.
I’M PAGAN – COUNT ME IN! – PREPARING FOR THE 2011 CENSUS
It’s been a source of frustration for some time that Pagans of all stripes have been unable to register their affiliation in the Census. Well, our day is coming. In the 2011 Census, on question 20 of the census form, you can simply register your spiritual affiliation by the following method: in the box under ‘any other religion’ you write ‘PAGAN’, then a dash, and your own brand – for example, Caitlín will write ‘PAGAN – ANIMIST.’ If you’re of a different persuasion, just put it in ‘PAGAN –WICCAN,’ or ‘PAGAN – DRUID’ or whatever you are. But if you just write ‘Druid’ or ‘Wiccan’ you will not be counted as a Pagan. This question is optional but when Pagans begin showing up in our National Statistics as a distinct entity, this will help change things. We know that, over 10 years ago, that the number of officially registered Quakers in UK was about 10,000. At that same time, the number of Pagans just registered with the Pagan Federation alone was more than that. In Australia in 2001 there were 10,000 Pagans in the census. Just 5 years later, with this same initiative, their numbers are being counted as nearer 70,000. So you see, we can change how we are viewed and be seen as a force to be reckoned with. As a religious minority we may not be that minor but if we stay behind the picket fences of our divisions rather than assembling as a united band, we don’t stand out so well!! Caitlín has been in contact with the Census Office and this initiative is confirmed. See the form for yourself http://www.ons.gov.uk/census/2011-census/2011-census-questionnaire-content/2011-census-questionnaire-for-england.pdf
As the founder of PaganDASH initiative, and a Stakeholder in the 2011 Census, I would just like to correct Caitlin’s errors in her mass email.
” But if you just write ‘Druid’ or ‘Wiccan’ you will not be counted as a Pagan.”
This is the fundamental work I’ve been doing with the ONS for over 10 years. If you do write in any of the paths alone (Wiccan, Druid, Thelemite etc…) you WILL be counted under the Headline Category of Pagan. To ensure this, it is easier to write Pagan- but to reiterate you WILL be counted for just writing your path without Pagan- in front. For people to think otherwise, the ONS would be using a false data capture system.
Do not worry – if you use Pagan- or just your path, you WILL be counted.
I shall also be working after the data is captured to mop up any “troublesome” data where someone has written “Druide” or Celtique Shaman” or other such variants.