Sikhs May Get Ethnicity Status in UK’s 2021 Census: Report
British Sikhs may get a distinct ethnicity status rather than being classified only as a religion in the 2021 census in the United Kingdom.
British Sikhs may get a distinct ethnicity status rather than being classified only as a religion in the 2021 census in the United Kingdom. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is also looking at giving separate ethnic designations for Jewish, Roma and Somali Britons, thetimes.co.uk reported.
The move to mark Sikhs as an ethnic group would come after years of demands raised by the community over the issue in the United Kingdom. As many as 113 members of parliament signed a letter to the ONS last year in support over calls for the change. In the last census, which took place in 2011, over 83,000 Sikhs refused to tick the option that said “Indian” as an answer to the question on their ethnicity, and instead chose to write “Sikh” in the space for “any other ethnic group,” the report said.
The ONS, concerned that the move to create a separate ethnicity may not be accepted by many among the 430,000-strong Sikh community in the country, had agreed to the offer from the community to seek public opinion. The all-party parliamentary group for British Sikhs approached gurdwaras to gauge public acceptability of the move.
A total of 112 responses from gurdwaras, representing over 100,000 members, have been received by the MPs, according to the publication.
“Overwhelmingly they have said yes. Not a single gurdwara has opposed it,” Preet Gill, the chairwoman of the all-party group, was quoted as saying in the report. The ONS is likely to support the call if more than 60 percent of the gurdwaras that responded answer in favor of the move.
“The final ONS test was one of public acceptability and our main religious institutions have spoken with one voice with 100 per cent backing for a separate Sikh ethnic tick box. The ONS will now have to recommend a Sikh ethnic tick box in the census white paper later this year,” Bhai Amrik Singh, chairman of the Sikh Federation, said, the report added.
The list of ethnicities compiled by the ONS is used by public health bodies when analyzing health data, and the service requirements for different ethnic groups.
Sikhs are a legally recognized ethnic group under the UK’s Race Relations Act, 1976, PTI reported, adding that campaigners for the change are seeking a right to be able to identify themselves separately from the current census options of “Indian” or “British Indian.”
Sikhism is recognized in the United Kingdom as a separate religion within an optional religious question that was introduced in the 2001 Census.