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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Making sense of the census

83,000 people defined themselves as being Cornish in the 2011 UK census. Of these, 73,000 were resident in Cornwall on census night. In 2001 just 37,000 people identified as Cornish - so why the dramatic increase?

An increase made even more surprising given the hoops that these self-declared Cornish men and women had to go through in order to establish their ethnicity.

For English people it was a simple, passive tick of a box.

Cornish people had to tick a box labelled 'other' and then write in their ethnicity. They had to actively assert their identity without being given an obvious and clear Cornish option to do so.

I believe it's all about education. It's about making sure that people know that 'Cornish' is an option - not just in people's hearts but in the grey world of officialdom. It's about saying that it's actually ok to be officially Cornish.

For me the encouraging thing is that this is the general public making an apolitical statement in an overtly political way and, seemingly, revelling in the rebellion.

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