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The UK Census takes place this Sunday 21 March 2021 and, as in 2001 and 2011, it will include a question about religion with an option to respond ‘Jewish.’ While it is compulsory for every household in the country to complete a census form, there is no obligation to answer the religion question – it is the only question on the form that is voluntary.

However, it is very important that Jews identify themselves as such in the Census. For a fuller explanation of why, please click here . This article outlines how the data generated by ticking the Jewish box play an essential role in community planning on a wide range of issues, including elderly care, schooling, health, inclusion and combating antisemitism. Countless Jewish organisations, charities, synagogues, schools, trusts and foundations across the country use census data in a variety of ways to help them understand and cater for the needs of the Jewish population. Equally essential, local and national authorities use census data regularly to make decisions about services that address the needs of the Jewish community.

The JPR are aware that some people may be concerned about identifying themselves as Jewish in a government data gathering exercise. They have absolutely no cause to be. Census data are anonymised and used to understand populations as a whole, and cannot be used to identify or target individuals in any way whatsoever. Ticking the Jewish box is an easy and effective way to support the community, and holds no risk to any individuals.

The JPR also know that some Jews prefer to identify themselves as Jewish by ethnicity rather than religion. There is an option on the census form that allows individuals to declare their ethnicity as Jewish and they should feel free to do so, but it is by ticking the Jewish box in the religion question that their data can be most readily utilised for community planning purposes.

For more general information about Census 2021, please click here. If you have any questions about ticking the Jewish box, please feel free to contact the JPR at 2021census@jpr.org.uk. JPR thank you in advance for your help on this important matter.