Problems with the question
The current Statistics Canada census asks the following question on religion:
There are a couple serious problems here.
A Biased Question which will Result in an Unfairly Small Measure of the Non Religious
The wording of the religious affiliation question that has been asked since 1971 is “What is this person’s religion? Indicate a specific denomination or religion even if this person is not currently a practising member of that group. For example, Roman Catholic, Ukrainian Catholic, United Church, Anglican, Lutheran, Baptist, Greek Orthodox, Jewish, Islam, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, etc.”. The respondent has the option to write in a religious denomination or select the “No religion” checkbox.
The census labels any lapsed, unbelieving and/or non-practising catholic, muslim, jew, etc, with those observant or believing members of that tradition, even though this may conflict with their actual religious worldview. The effect this had was to drown out the numbers of atheists and agnostics in our country.
The definition of “No Religion” is too vague
The other flaw with the question is its failure to break down “No Religion”. Why is that important? The “No Religion” category fails to differentiate between extremely different types of non-religious Canadians, including
– secular humanists
– Spiritual but not religiously affiliated
– Those that self identify as “New Age”
See the past census results and future projections.