Saturday 26 February 2011

Is "You're not a Jedi" telling it straight?

There have been a lot of tweets going round about the You're not a Jedi page that while quite rightly saying it is better to be honest on the census, however it is also suggesting:

Every tick towards any religion, no matter if it is real or a bit of a joke (or both for that matter), gets counted towards the figures of religious people in the UK.

I fully support the need for an accurate an inclusive census as the data is used in important ways such as apportioning money. This is why despite important and worthy claims about privacy concerns and private contracts I am on board for it. But something rang untrue about the claim that Jedis were being used in order to fund religious groups. So I went to look at the numbers for the 2001 census, the ONS commentary page on the England and Wales data says:

At the time the Census was carried out, there was an internet campaign that encouraged people to answer the religion question "Jedi Knight". The number of people who stated Jedi was 390,000 (0.7 per cent of the population).

Below is the raw data pulled out of nomis and it shows that unless Jedi was characterised as a sect of Christianity or Islam anyone who put that as their religious preference was put under “No religion” or “Religion not stated” they wouldn’t fit anywhere else (unless there are only about 150,000 Hindus and they lumped them in there).

Cell England Wales England and Wales
T53:1 (ALL PEOPLE : ALL PEOPLE ) 49,138,831 2,903,085 52,041,916
T53:2 (ALL PEOPLE : Christian ) 35,251,244 2,087,242 37,338,486
T53:3 (ALL PEOPLE : Buddhist ) 139,046 5,407 144,453
T53:4 (ALL PEOPLE : Hindu ) 546,982 5,439 552,421
T53:5 (ALL PEOPLE : Jewish ) 257,671 2,256 259,927
T53:6 (ALL PEOPLE : Muslim ) 1,524,887 21,739 1,546,626
T53:7 (ALL PEOPLE : Sikh ) 327,343 2,015 329,358
T53:8 (ALL PEOPLE : Any other religion ) 143,811 6,909 150,720
T53:9 (ALL PEOPLE : No religion ) 7,171,332 537,935 7,709,267
T53:10 (ALL PEOPLE : Religion not stated ) 3,776,515 234,143 4,010,658

So if you are a group who believe that statistics are being used to disproportionately support the religious over the secular I would think it would be effort better spent working on finding out how many of the 37 million who put “Christian” down on the census are doing so out of force of habit.


Rhys Morgan said...

I think that there is a campaign about the "Christian out of force of habit" thing, by the British Humanist Association -

Unknown said...

Its important that people don't just tick Christian, 37 million my bottom.
Maybe a question about your cultural religion and one about any active religion.
Or maybe just ask the same as they do now and add a question after that says do you think anything related to your chosen religion at least once a day.
But really they should have done something about this by now the Jedi campaign last time should have been a warning to them and its not as if they are in a rush coming up with the questions.

Chris said...

This page at the office of national statistics states:

No religion includes people who ticked 'None' at the religion question plus those who wrote in Jedi Knight, Agnostic, Atheist and Heathen and those who ticked 'Other' but did not write in any religion.

So you can safely be a jedi without influencing religious funding.

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joseph rector said...

The discussion around the "You're not a Jedi" campaign raises valid points about census accuracy and its implications. It's crucial to ensure data reflects reality, especially for allocation of resources. Thought-provoking analysis!
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