Australian Jews were miffed on Tuesday, after the country’s census form failed to include Question 19 on the 2011 form”Jewish” as an option for Question 19 – religion. The questionnaire lists seven different Christian denominations, as well as Buddhism, Islam and “Other – please specify.” Both the online and the printed forms also listed “No religion” as an option.
According to the last Australian census, taken in 2006, the Jewish population was 88,834, though numbers are estimated to be far higher, up to 120,000. Some 12 million Australians identified as Christian in 2006, 340,000 as Muslim and 418,000 as Buddhist.
Last week, the Australian Jewish News ran an article explaining that in the past, the survey has “failed to collect accurate data on the Jewish population because a significant portion of the community are believed to opt out of the faith questions – either because they are Holocaust survivors who are concerned about being identified, are secular and choose not to identify, or are living overseas.” The article urged Australian Jews to identify as Jewish in this year’s census, in order to get accurate data.