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Witches and Jedis put hex on UK census

by Chris Gourlay

The 2011 census is likely to be Britain’s last following concerns that the 209-year-old survey is unable to cope with the nation’s rapidly changing population — and respondents’ lies.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is drawing up plans to introduce a new register that could be based on existing computer records. The data, such as tax, pension and medical details, could then be supplemented with more regular surveys, possibly conducted by telephone, over the internet and through face-to-face interviews. The proposed overhaul follows concerns about increased levels of migration that threaten to make the census data redundant almost as soon as they have been collected.

Prank responses to questions that are perceived to be too intrusive have also knocked confidence in the current system. In 2001 — the first time a voluntary question was asked about faith — almost 400,000 people took inspiration from the Star Wars films to claim that their religion was “Jedi”. This was in addition to about 7,000 people who said that they were witches.

Read the original article at: Times UK

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