Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Census 2011 - the ethnicity question

There are quite a few departures from the 2001 census in the 2011 ethnicity options (click image to enlarge), presumably in response to the outcry over the previous exclusion of English identity.

Ten years ago, respondents in Scotland and Northern Ireland were able to tick a box describing themselves as Scottish or Irish. With the absence of an English tick-box, the only other tick option was 'White-British' or 'Other'. It was never clarified whether or not if 'English' was written in under the 'Other' option it would be counted as an ethnic group in same the way as the Welsh.

Following the 2001 census, Plaid Cymru backed a petition calling for the inclusion of a Welsh tickbox, which they now have. No major political party supported equality for the English, yet the voice of the English has clearly been heard.

According to the 2001 Census, the ethnic composition of the United Kingdom was:

White British 50,366,497 85.67%
White (other) 3,096,169 5.27%
Indian 1,053,411 1.8%
Pakistani 977,285 1.6%
White Irish 691,232 1.2%
Mixed race 677,117 1.2%
Black Caribbean 565,876 1.0%
Black African 485,277 0.8%
Bangladeshi 283,063 0.5%
Other Asian (non-Chinese) 247,644 0.4%
Chinese 247,403 0.4%
Other 230,615 0.4%
Black (others) 97,585 0.2%

Significantly, 'Arab' appears on the 2011 form for the first time as an ethnic tick-box option. This is as a result of lobbying by The National Association of British Arabs and other Arab organisations, in order to include under-reported groups from the Arab world.

We now await the inclusion of a 'Cornish' ethnic category in 2021.


Anonymous Epictetus said...

Your Grace,

Any idea of whether it will it be valid if I declare my race to be Jedi?

" ' Dr' Epictetus"

12 October 2010 at 18:20  
Blogger JohnofEnfield said...

I am assaulted by people wanting to know my ethnicity.

Most recently by the NHS (A&E & for GP surveys) and by the OU. When challenged the OU says I don't need to answer the question but certain categories of their funding depend on it in .

My objections are the same as yours but I would also add:

1) The assessment is completely SUBJECTIVE. Are we all going to have to take DNA tests for "determining" our racial profile?

2) The information can ONLY be for the purpose of making essentially racist decisions.

I trust that answering this Census question is not mandatory - otherwise jail hoves into view.

12 October 2010 at 18:49  
Anonymous Sam Vega said...


I'm not sure if there are statutory penalties for refusing to complete the census, but a good friend of mine returned his last (2001) form covered with nonsense and abuse directed towards the ONS. We all then waited, him with more fear than the rest of us, for the knock on the door. Nothing ever happened.

12 October 2010 at 20:49  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

Sam Vega

"Nothing Ever happened"

I can't seem to escape this phrase ever since reading a post on Nick Baines' Blog Nothing Ever Happens.

I am caught up into some kind of loop with this, the phrase has resounding and deeply poignant significance for me the more I consider everything. It seems that the truth is that nothing ever really happens.

12 October 2010 at 21:22  
Anonymous Sam Vega said...

Jared Gates

Like this?


(I like Nick Baines, by the way. I heard him on Radio 2, and checked him out, but had forgotten about him until your post....)

12 October 2010 at 22:01  
Blogger Wyrdtimes said...

About time. Normally I have to cross out British and write in English.

It will be interesting to see how many people in England consider themselves to be English after decades of Brishit brainwashing.

12 October 2010 at 22:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think there were a handful of prosecutions but they were all individuals who had made a great fuss in the media of the fact that they hadn't completed the form ie ONS felt they had to be seen to be acting.

But more generally...


12 October 2010 at 23:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace

Welcome back.

“We now await the inclusion of a 'Cornish' ethnic category in 2021.”

2011 may be the last census:

Perhaps our new government likes the ways that our old government were developing of tracking and tracing us and measuring our ethnicity and religious beliefs in real time that it does not need at ask us once a decade. We supply segments of information from the census form at every interaction with the multiplicity of organs of the state; these can be selectively expanded to cover the whole form so that they can be welded into a whole in the massive databases that were scrapped, allegedly. Or perhaps the government is developing a taste for more information about us than they could ever have imagined possible – such as what we spend our money on down to the last penny, and our detailed travel patterns.


12 October 2010 at 23:24  
Blogger Dilettante said...

I consider myself British, but 'ethnically' speaking I'm Anglo-Irish, as British isn't an ethnicity... still, sad to see ferocious nationalists striking poses even here.

12 October 2010 at 23:47  
Blogger OurSally said...

The inly honest answer for a pure bred Brit is mixed race: Celtic, Roman, Saxon, Angle, Jute, Viking, Huguenot...

13 October 2010 at 08:27  
Anonymous Caedmon's Cat said...

I'm really worried about this for my master's sake, because there is to be a census in Northumbria, and he doesn't know whether he is of the Angelcynn or if he's Norðhymbrisc. I've suggested that he pick one at random, but he fears that he might be in trouble with the landlord. If they decided to take a census of cats, I'll have no such worries if there's a tickbox for common-and-garden moggies..

13 October 2010 at 09:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These questions irk my sensibilities.

Someone can ask my nationality or the country mentioned on my passport but ethnicity and colour questions are racialist.

There should be a tick box for GB&NI without skin tone. If someone wants to know my skin tone they can look and make up their own mind.

My colour doesn't define me and all thisemphasise on colour is wrong.

British and proud of it

13 October 2010 at 11:48  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

I intend to write in the permitted space a hitherto unknown category of ethnic origin: 'Myob'. I suggest we all do the same. If enough people write 'Myob' on the form it may even register on the statistics.

13 October 2010 at 12:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the MYOB, Anabaptist! If I had not emigrated in disgust at the way that democracy i the UK has gone, I'd certainly follow your suggestion. As it is, I am quite tempted to fly back for Census night to do just that anyway. The UK suffers a pestilential surfeit of bureaucrats who simply can't mind their own business or exercise an ounce of judgement of their own. I now live in a country that makes no attempt to pretend that it is democratic but it is much freer and fairer in many regards than then UK. I even took a photograph of an office block the other day without a gang or armed police wasting their time on me.

Thank you, I am now officially of the MYOB race!

13 October 2010 at 13:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surely 'White British' is not an ethnic group - it includes Scots, English, Welsh (Manx?, Cornish?). Similarly 'Indian' must cover a multitude of ethnic groups in the sub-continent. Ethnicity is not the same as Nationality.

13 October 2010 at 15:26  

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