Census forms are being delivered at the moment for the 2011 Census.
How you fill in the religious affiliation question is, of course, up to you. For those of you wanting to know how the data is used, and where you might end up, the following is a collection of information gathered by the groups I belong to over the past few years:
The simple answer is it’s ordered by Religion – Denomination – Subdenomination. The “Religion” Category is the list of 7 options you’ll see on your census for.
Some examples are: Christian – Adventist – Seventh Day Adventist, or Other Religions – Japanese Religions – Shinto.
For full information on Stats NZ categories, and how this has worked in the past, see: goo.gl/RysCm
2. How does this work for Paganism?
We normally fit under the “Spiritualism and New Age Religions”
In the past few years, the denominations have looked like this:
Spiritualism and New Age Religions
1999 2001 2006
Spiritualist 5,100 5,856 7,743
Nature and Earth Based Religions 1,722 5,838 7,125
Other New Age Religions 1,164 2,784 2,871
Satanism 909 894 1,167
New Age nfd (not further defined) 675 420 669
Church of Scientology 219 282 357
Total People, Spiritualism and New Age Religions
9,786 16,062 19,800
In the past few years, a few people have recommended filling in the form as “Pagan Dash”. i.e., Ticking the “Other” box, and writing Pagan – Wiccan, Pagan – Druid, Pagan - Heathen etc. (see also http://www.pagandash.org/)
The theory goes that Pagan gets us into the Spiritualism and New Age Religions box, and Wiccan, Druid, etc gets us counted as a subdenomination. This means most of us will be counted in the “Nature and Earth Based religions” subdenomination at the moment, but if one group hits the mysterious “right number”, there will be a subdenomination created (surely there’s more Wiccans than Scientologists? In NZ”).
This makes sense to me as a good way to proceed, but I will try and contact Stats New Zealand to see if I can get a bit more information about what happens when we write “Pagan Dash” in NZ. (You could always write “Spiritualism and New Age – Whatever”, but I think we would run out of space to write!
I’ll let you know when I hear from StatsNZ!