The 2011 Canadian census is taking place this week — one out of three Canadians will receive the long-form version of the survey while the rest will simply be asked for a headcount.
Normally, this would be a wonderful way to get a decent snapshot of what the Canadian population looks like, but one of the questions is so poorly written that the numbers may be skewed in favor of religion:
The emphasis below is mine:
What is this person’s religion?
Indicate a specific denomination or religion even if this person is not currently a practising member of that group.
For example, Roman Catholic, United Church, Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Muslim, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Greek Orthodox, etc.
Specify one denomination or religion only.
- No religion
I know they’re allowing you to say “no religion,” but why are the encouraging you to indicate a certain religion even if you’re not a practicing member?
If you don’t go to church and haven’t even thought about god in years, but your parents raised you as a Christian, that doesn’t make you a Christian.
If you’re apathetic toward religion but your mother was Jewish, that doesn’t make you a Jew (no matter what Jewish people want to believe…).
It looks like the numbers for various faiths will be inflated based on this survey. There are a number of people who don’t want to call themselves “atheist” (or even put themselves in the “no religion” category), but usually there’s an “other” category you can put yourself into. Where’s that option?
As Canadian reader Dorothy points out, “What the hell are they trying to prove with this?”
I’d love to know.