Pagans and the census (Vic Thomas)
Sunday 27th March will be Census Day in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
As you all know, the census is conducted every 10 years to gather a broad range of information about people and households across the countries of the UK.
In 2001, the census included questions on religion, that made it possible, for the very first time, to prove that there were many thousands of Pagans in these islands. That we were, in fact, the seventh largest religion in Scotland and that our numbers were growing rapidly as other religions diminish. Census data on the number of Pagans proved to be of tremendous value in winning greater respect and recognition for Paganism.
This year, the census will again include a question on religion. And the Scottish Pagan Federation appeals to all Pagans in this country to enter “PAGAN” – in the “Another Religion” box provided.
The more of us we can prove there are, the more accepted Paganism shall be in the wider society and the fewer problems we will have with defamation and religious discrimination.
It is particularly important that as many of us as possible identify as Pagans in this census because it will almost certainly be the last time it will be conducted in its present form.
Even without the current public spending cuts, the growing cost of the exercise and the competing demands for different kinds of information make that more or less inevitable.
In the future, it will probably be much, much harder to obtain any accurate statistics on the number of Pagans, or any other demographic statistics, so we really need to make what impact we can now.
If you value Paganism, please identify as PAGAN in this year’s national census.