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Jedi census movement

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The Jedi census movement was a grassroots movement in 2001 for citizens in a few English-speaking countries to record their religion as "Jedi" or "Jedi Knight" on the national census, after a fictitious religion originating in the Star Wars films. There is little to no evidence that this is related to any genuine new religious movement, and it is almost universally considered an elaborate practical joke on the census.

The campaign was loosely organized by circulating emails claiming that if enough people entered "Jedi", it would be recognized as an official religion by the government. The emails also implored people to report their religion as "Jedi" "because you love Star Wars" or "just to annoy people". Other reasons that have been suggested for this behaviour have included frivolity, a protest or mockery of the census or religion, desire to claim that one is actually a Jedi, or a claim that one's personal religious beliefs can be best explained as "Jedi".

In Australia more than 70,000 people declared themselves members of the Jedi in the 2001 census, while 53,000 listed themselves as Jedi in New Zealand and 20,000 listed themselves as Jedi in Canada.

In England and Wales 390,000 people (0.7%) stated their religion as Jedi on their 2001 Census forms, making it the fourth largest reported religion in the country. The highest such responses were typically in cities with high student populations. The percentages of religious affiliations (excluding atheists and non-respondents) were:

  • Christian: 94.0%
  • Muslim: 3.1%
  • Hindu: 1.1%
  • Jedi: 0.7%

Jedi is still not recognised as an "official" religion, however it was assigned its own code in the United Kingdom for census processing. Officials from the British Office of National Statistics have pointed out that just because "Jedi Knight" has been given its own code, that does not confer on it the status of official recognition; it merely means that it has been registered as a common answer to the "religion" statistic.

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Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04