Lots of folks are reporting on the rise in the number of Kiwis reporting “No religion” in the latest Census. Where “No religion” used to outnumber any single Christian denomination, we now almost outnumber the combined Christian variants. As there are also adherents to other religions in New Zealand, Christians are now a very slight minority.
But nobody yet has reported on that we have no clue how we’re faring on the Jedi Gap. Recall that New Zealand had 20,000 Jedi in the 2006 Census. In the 2013 Census, we see that we have 19,000 Sikhs, 18,000 Jehova’s Witnesses, and almost 15,000 Seventh Day Adventists. But no listing for Jedi.
Maybe the number of self-identified Jedi were too small for Census to list them. But we have 6 adherents to the “Commonwealth Covenant Church”, “Japanese Religion not elsewhere categorised” gets 15, and so too do “Tenrikyo” and “Chinese religions not elsewhere categorised”. I would bet that there were more than 6 Jedi.
Over 28,000 Kiwis’ answers were deemed “Response Outside Scope”; another 16,000 were classed as “Religion Unidentifiable”. 225 were “Other religions not elsewhere categorised”
Maybe there’s some strategic military reason for seeking to bury our Jedi numbers into those other categories.
As I noted back in May when Canada munged its Census such that they could no longer reliably identify Jedi numbers:
Recall that New Zealand had 20,000 Jedi in 2006; we have yet to see figures from the 2013 Census. Our Census remains mandatory. While we know that while Jedi will not lie, they may refrain from identifying themselves as Jedi if it’s voluntary.
This has important national defence implications. While New Zealand has been able to cut defence spending down to trivial levels, trusting in its strong cohort of Jedi in case of any emergency, Canada cannot really tell whether they really need the Joint Strike Fighter because of dwindling Jedi numbers, or whether the Jedi just failed to complete the voluntary forms.
It also has implications for ongoing negotiations in the Trans-Pacific Trade talks. If Canada can no longer rely on Jedi mind tricks to defend supply management in dairy, perhaps New Zealand’s Jedi will be able to push us towards free trade.
Our daughter, born on Star Wars Day three years ago, is one of the Jedi in the 2013 New Zealand Census.
I hope that the Census stops hiding the truth about our Jedi numbers.
UPDATE: Statistics NZ emailed in response to my data request; it seems that the Herald also asked for Jedi data. 19,089 people wrote “Jedi” in response to question 18, “What is your religion?”
I had also asked whether it would be tough to get cross-tabs out showing whether Jedi were more or less eduacted than others, their relative income, number of younglings and the like. Getting that data looks like it would be a bit tougher, as it’s codefile data. But it also sounds like somebody at another University requested Jedi data even before the Census came out. So stay tuned.