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Census 2011, 2021 & Beyond

last person joined: 3 days ago 

ONS plans to publish the first outputs from the 2011 Census (population estimates by age and sex for England and Wales and local authorities) in July 2012. Further details on these and the content and timetable for each of the census releases, as well as the availability of the commissioned table service and UK data, will be made available through an online census outputs prospectus that will be launched at the end of March.

ONS is developing new online tools and functionality to deliver an enhanced web site capability for organisations and individuals to access, exploit and explore ONS statistics more effectively. This will assist ONS to extend the reach of the 2011 Census outputs and other business outputs, to a wider audience and meet the open government transparency agenda.
This community will provide an opportunity for members to share views, experiences and good practice about the 2011 Census and dissemination of the outputs, together with the census data analysis that ONS will carry out. ONS is interested in understanding how you use the rich data produced by the census to inform your policy and service delivery and how we can meet your needs in disseminating the data. This will help to realise the benefits.

1.  Religion - matching NI to EW

Hi Everyone

Can anyone point me to any documentation that tells me how I can match up the religion in EW with NI?
specifically does the sum of
KS211NI0002 Religion: Catholic
KS211NI0003 Religion: Presbyterian Church in Ireland
KS211NI0004 Religion: Church of Ireland
KS211NI0005 Religion: Methodist Church in Ireland
KS211NI0006 Religion: Other Christian (including Christian related)

match to
KS209EW0002 Christian

I guess this is really about the "including christian related"  - are they "christian" in EW, so i can match, or are they "other religion" so I can't?

2.  RE:Religion - matching NI to EW

'Christian' isn't broken down at all in the EW Census (people weren't asked to specify), but religions included under 'Other religions' are listed by name in the 'detailed' religion table (KS210EW).  If there's a comparable detailed table for the NI results, you could see if the Christian-related religions are included under 'Other religions' for EW or not.  You would then need to assume that people just ticked Christian for those religions, so not sure it will give you a definitive answer, but might help... 


3.  RE:Religion - matching NI to EW

At a minimum you'll need to be very careful about this, but my view is that you really can't match up religion definitions between the different UK countries at all because the questions are asked so differently.

I'm more familiar with the EW / Scotland comparison than the Northern Irish one, but I think there will be similar issues for NI. Here's one of the intra-GB issues.

In 2001 (nothing significant has changed since 2001 in the ways the questions are asked) there were far more people classified as having no religion in Scotland (27.5%) than there were in England and Wales (14.8%). This doesn't reflect any underlying difference in distribution of religious beliefs, but happened mainly because the Scottish questionnaire demanded that Christians specify what kind of Christian they were, while the EW questionnaire did not. So people who regarded themselves as being Christian in a vague sort of way but had no affiliation to any church could easily respond 'Christian' in England or Wales, but the Scottish request for specification of a kind of Christianity might push the same person to respond 'no religion' were they to fill in a Scottish form.

The net result is that 'no religion' in Scotland isn't comparable to 'no religion' in England and Wales. It would have been nice to have had a bit more harmonisation of the religion question in 2011, but it didn't happen, so any comparison of religion across countries might be very dubious.

The difference between the Northern Irish question and the E&W question looks much greater than the difference between the Scottish question and the E&W question.


4.  RE:Religion - matching NI to EW

"... the Scottish questionnaire demanded that Christians specify what kind of Christian they were, while the EW questionnaire did not."

This may well be part of the reason for the high proportion of people in Scotland with "no religion". However, another important factor is likely to be that, in 2001, the Scottish census had two religion questions - current religion, and religion of upbringing.

So, people with a loose affiliation (to any religion - not just Christianity) may have used the opportunity to give different answers for these questions. And whilst, as you noted, 27.5% of Scots stated that they currently had no religion, only 17.5% stated that they were not brought up in any religion.

For 2011, Scotland switched to a single question only ("What religion, religious denomination or body 
do you belong to?"). NI however retained two questions.

5.  RE:Religion - matching NI to EW

Thanks everyone - really useful insight - I had hoped for a simple answer, though suspected it would be complicated!