2021 Census: if you’re not religious, say so

Non-religious people are urged to tick the ‘No Religion’ box in the forthcoming Census, due to be completed on 21 March.

Humanists UK says the last census hid half of all non-religious people, suggesting the number was only 25% instead of the 50% that show up in other surveys including the respected annual British Social Attitudes Survey. That in turn affects the way public services like education and health are shaped.

This year, most of us will fill the form online. We will be sent a letter in the post with a unique access code. Or we can ask for a paper copy.

The question on religion asks, “What is your religion?” The top option is ‘No religion’ followed by Christian, Buddhist etc, and finally ‘Any other religion’ with a box to write in the other religion.

Humanists UK asks that we tick the top ‘No religion’ box and resist the temptation to write ‘Jedi’ or similar in the ‘Other’ box. This is one of the voluntary questions but we should answer it.

Humanists UK says: “Exaggerated religion figures have meant time and money gets spent on maintaining unfair religious discrimination in our society.” Examples include increasing the number of faith schools, enforcing compulsory Christian worship in schools, contracting out public services to religious organisations who can discriminate against non-religious or LGBT service users, and even more religious-only programming on the BBC, such as Thought for the Day.

Humanists UK has appealed many times to the Office of National Statistics to ask a fairer question such as the one in the British Social Attitudes Survey: ‘Do you regard yourself as belonging to any particular religion?’ In 2019 the survey recorded 52 percent of respondents as non-religious. In contrast, the 2011 England and Wales Censuses found only 25 percent ticking ‘no religion’.

For more information on the Humanists UK campaign go here