We’re calling on people who don’t believe in or practise a religion to tick ‘No religion’ in the Census.

Research shows that in every Census, millions of non-religious people respond to the question ‘What is your religion?’ by ticking a religious box.

This is because of the biased way in which the question is asked. Other surveys which ask a different question usually find that a majority of people in the UK are not religious!

The results of the Census are used to make decisions about everything from the types of new schools to open to the types of emotional support offered in hospitals, so it really matters. We want people’s answers to reflect what they truly believe.

The results of the Census affect everyone. If you’re not religious, please, say so!

Frequently asked questions

More detail

Exaggerated religion figures have meant time and money gets spent on maintaining unfair religious discrimination in our society. Over the last decade this has included:

  • Increasing the number of faith schools
  • Enforcing compulsory Christian worship in schools
  • Contracting out public services to religious organisations who can discriminate against non-religious or LGBT service users
  • Preserving 26 bishops who vote in Parliament
  • Opting religious groups out of equality laws and other new legislation
  • Making even more religious-only programming on the BBC, such as Thought for the Day.

Conversely, if the non-religious are more accurately counted it will encourage:

  • More state schools that accept all pupils equally regardless of their parents’ beliefs
  • More schools replacing compulsory worship with inclusive assemblies
  • Swapping faith-based religious instruction in schools for inclusive education about all the different beliefs and values
  • Equal pastoral support for non-religious people in hospitals, prisons, and the armed services – not just religious chaplains
  • A second look at religious discrimination in our laws, including things like clerics voting in Parliament (the only countries that do this are the UK and Iran!)

Read more in-depth information about how the use of a leading Census question disadvantages the non-religious.

What you can do

This bit’s simple. If you don’t believe or practise a religion, then when you are asked about your religion on the Census, tick the ‘No religion’ or ‘None’ box.

  • In England and Wales the question asked is ‘What is your religion?’ and the box we encourage people to tick is ‘No religion’
  • In Northern Ireland the question asked is ‘What religion, religious denomination or body do you belong to?’ and the box we encourage people to tick is ‘None’.
  • In Scotland the question is the same as in Northern Ireland, but the Census has been delayed until 2022.

FAQs: Common questions and advice on filling in the 2021 Census