Should a question on "religion" be asked in the 2001 British Census? A public policy case in favour

Aspinall, Peter J. (2000) Should a question on "religion" be asked in the 2001 British Census? A public policy case in favour. Social Policy & Administration, 34 (5). pp. 584-600. ISSN 0144-5596. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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For the first time since the voluntary census in 1851, a question on religion will be asked in the pool Census for England and Wales and far Scotland. The justification given in the White Papa is that the information will enhance output from the ethnicity question, especially for groups originating from the Indian subcontinent. The decision has attracted criticism on the grounds that religion is a private and sensitive matter not suitable for a census and that the information by the question will be of limited or no value. This paper contends that a question on religion should be asked and presents the main arguments in favour. In addition to enabling ethnic minority subgroups to be identified, it will provide counts for groups like Muslims and Jews that are;currently invisible in ethnicity classifications. Information on religions will meet government needs arising from the increasing involvement of faith communities as collaborators in urban regeneration and health improvement and statutory requirements relating to such matters as standing advisory councils on religious education and local authority obligations under the Children Act 1989. It will also provide an evidence base for facilitation the identification of discrimination on religious grounds. However, the utility of the category "Christian" In the question for England and Wales-in contrast to the broad subdivisions of Christianity in the Scotland question-is questioned given that for same ethnic groups "Catholic" and "Protestant" are important cultural markers of difference merit critical review by professionals anf the wider society.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research > Centre for Health Services Studies
Depositing User: Paula Loader
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2009 13:06
Last Modified: 08 May 2014 07:59
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