The 2021 census question on religion should be optional, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) census advisory group has been told in a submission from Atheist Ireland. It also called for the removal of check boxes in the religious question as this was found to greatly exaggerate findings.
The question “should ask whether people practice a religion” and “not prejudice the answer with preprinted options”. It should also “ask how often people practice a religion if they do so”.
The submission also pointed out that on the current census form “the question on religion appears immediately after the question on ethnic and cultural background. This primes people to be thinking about ethnic and cultural background when answering the question on religion.”
The religion question should be moved elsewhere in the census form, “well away from questions on ethnicity, culture, or language. The England and Wales census has already made this change, by moving the question on religion away from the question on ethnic and cultural background,” it said. IRISH TIMES
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