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UK Government is not supporting Cornish tickbox on 2021 Census
The UK Government has just published a White Paper entitled “Help Shape Our Future: The 2021 Census of Population and Housing in England and Wales.” It states that there will not be a Cornish tickbox on the next census.

More detailed comment to follow, but under the heading “National identity,” the following is stated:

3.115: A question on national identity was asked for the first time in the 2011 Census to complement the question on ethnic group. The question enabled respondents to identify themselves using a range of options including British, English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish, irrespective of their ethnic group. In considering this topic for the 2021 Census, ONS recognised a medium user need, particularly when considered with the ethnic group, and recommended, at that time, a question on national identity should be included.

3.116: The evidence provided during the topic consultation and further engagement with stakeholders about ethnicity identified requests for a new response option for Cornish. ONS fully recognises the need of the Cornish community for data on the socio-economic, educational, health and housing conditions of those who identify as Cornish. While there is national user need, the main need is local within Cornwall.

3.117: The development of the “search-as-you-type” facility on the online form will be coupled with a strong local marketing and communications campaign, and additional field support will enable all those who wish to self-identify as being of any particular identity, including Cornish, to know how to do so.

3.118: ONS will also for the first time produce an analytical report on the population who identify as Cornish and how their health, housing, work and education differs from those who do not identify as Cornish.

3.119: The evidence from the topic consultation stated a need for a Cornish response option to supplement other data sources, such as the School Census and housing needs survey to understand the impact of policy and deprivation characteristics of the indigenous population and their cultural identity. Complementing this evidence was the recognition in 2014 of Cornish as a National Minority under the European Framework Convention of the Protection of National Minorities. In the 2011 Census, 83,000 usual residents wrote in Cornish as their national identity. Of these, 73,000 lived in Cornwall, comprising approximately 14% of the population. The remaining 10,000 resided elsewhere in England and Wales.

3.120: ONS has met and reviewed the evidence of Cornish stakeholders to understand the need and conducted testing to consider the acceptability of adding regional tick-boxes, including Cornish, to the national identity question. Having reviewed the evidence against the evaluation criteria, ONS has concluded that the need for a Cornish tick-box is very localised and not strong enough to justify its inclusion in the nationwide census, when ONS can gather the data by means of the online and paper write in options.
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By Dick Cole. Published on 15th December 2018.

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