In the 2001 UK Census a voluntary question about religion was included for the first time.
Over 80,000 people in England and Wales described themselves Pagans.
These included the various divisions of paganism; Wiccans, Druids, Heathens and others.
At the time the statistics were treated quite seriously by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) but as time has gone on they have more often been treated as a "joke" by the media.
This is partly because in the run up to the 2001 Census there was a well orchestrated campaign encouraging individuals to declare themselves "Jedi" in response to the religious question. The campaign was an overwhelming success with nearly 800,000 such declarations in England and Wales.
It's important that in 2011, Paganism is not once again eclipsed by a similar anomaly.
This web-page has been set up purely to raise overall awareness of the Census issue and is to encourage all pagans, whatever their path, to give a clear answer to the religious question in the 2011 census so that the overwhelming number will never be treated as a joke again.
There is a question about how best to achieve this.
If we all put down our individual paths; Pagan, Wiccan, Druid, Heathen, Asatru, New Age etc. It would give us accurate statistics for each individual group but some people will be reluctant, even in this day and age, to identify their beliefs so clearly.
Is it better then to put Pagan, knowing that it will give a degree of anonymity ?
If the statistics are split into groups then the results are likely to be relatively small and still we will quite possibly not be taken seriously.
If everyone were to declare themselves as Pagan then it is to be hope that the retuning statistic would be so significant as to quash all possibility of being the source of media humour.
Since the last Census there has been a campaign to provide a solution to this issue.
Known as Pagan Dash it suggest that the best way for doing this is to declare pagan, pagan-wiccan, pagan-druid etc. If you want to know more about this campaign the follow the link provided above.
I make no judgment as to which is the best route. Everyone must decide for themselves but I would say that all of us must put something this time.
Remind your pagan friends. If you run a moot, remind everyone there. Make announcements at conferences. Take every opportunity you can to reinforce the importance of declaring your pagan path.
In the intervening time why not show your support and join the FaceBook group "Be Pagan in the 2011 census"