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" Live out of your imagination

not your history "

Stephen R. Covey

2011 Census Results for Druids

December 17th, 2012
From a painting by the Swedish botanist C. A. M. Lindman (1856–1928)

From a painting by the Swedish botanist C. A. M. Lindman (1856–1928)

The 2011 Census for the UK has just published their results for the Religion category, and those who stated their religion as ‘Druid’ comes out at 4189. Some other figures to enable a comparison: 56,620 selected ‘Pagan’, 23,566 as ‘Mixed Religion’ (an interesting category). ‘Wicca’ came out at 11,766.
Jokers had their day with 176,632 listing ‘Jedi Knight’ and 6,242 listing Heavy Metal as their religion.
Interestingly, Druidry comes out on a par with the Zoroastrians at 4105 and just behind the Baha’i’s at 5021. So although the figure is small, it shows that Druidry is in the same company as these well-respected minority religions in the UK.
I think we can apply some ‘rough science’ to the numbers for Druidry. Let’s deduct 10% for people who put it down as a joke (NB You had to actively write down your religion, ‘Druid’ wasn’t listed as an option, which would have encouraged more silliness). Then let’s add say 10% of those who selected Pagan, who may have put Pagan-Druid for example, and been counted as Pagans.
Then let’s add another 10% for those Druids who do not consider their path a religion (and often dislike the term religion), but see Druidry instead as a spirituality, a philosophy, a magical path or way of life.
Finally, let’s add another 10% of our accumulating total for those who entered ‘Mixed Religion’ because they combine their Druidry with Wicca or Buddhism, for example (and there are many who do that). Here’s what we get:
4189 – 418 = 3771 + 5662 = 9433 + 943 = 10,376 + 1037 = 11,413
Let’s then shave off 413 for statistical error (like my maths?!) so we can say with some confidence: ‘There are around 11,000 Druids in Britain today!’
Some supporting evidence that suggests this may be a fairly accurate figure: in 2003 Professor Ronald Hutton from Bristol University estimated around 6,000 people practised Druidry as a spiritual path in Britain, and in the almost ten years since his estimate, Druidry has undoubtedly grown in popularity. By 2012 5,295 people in the UK were registered as members of the Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids, and doubling that figure seems a reasonable way of guessing at the right number.
In the final analysis, perhaps the most accurate way of stating the situation would be to say: ‘There are probably between 6 to 11,000 people in Britain today practising Druidry as a religion or spirituality.’