Secular Hungary

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Census questions

The next census in Hungary is due in 2011. The parliament decided not to include any questions regarding religious affiliation (as well as regarding special needs and the number of children), but the president, Mr László Sólyom returned the act to the parliament, which affirmed it.
As during WWII, the census was used for deportations, these data are considered very sensitive, and at the last census in 2001, it was not compulsory to answer. The big churches urged their followers to pledge their faith, while smaller ones and Jewish faith leaders dissuaded their followers. Over 10% of the population did not provide any data on their religious affiliation. In addition, contrary to their promise not to use these data in any way, the government later tried to reshape the distribution of state funding among churches according to the census figures, and leaders of bigger churches used the data to show their influence (for a discussion, see the FActs and figures page at the top of the blog!).