Our Pagan community is always changing, and it’s especially hard to understand these changes when there is so little data available. There are a few past surveys which provide some information (see below), but this survey will provide more up to date information. Plus, after the most recent census, the existence of “Atheist Witches” was explicitly mentioned! Here’s the direct link to take the 2021 Witch Census.
The overall page describing the Witch Census, along with answers to many questions (even a FAQ) and background is here.
Perhaps the top questions are the benefits to our Pagan community, as well as the fact that the survey is safe – being both anonymous and with solid security.
Specifically, they point out:
As the witchcraft community is both misrepresented and underrepresented in mainstream politics and media, compiling regular quantitative data on our practices, beliefs, behaviors, and lives will enable us to demonstrate that there are actually a LOT of us out there. That we deserve to have the same religious and political protections and rights as other groups and that our voices matter too.
We will also be able to compare the growth and changes within the community year on year, giving us all an insight into how we can work together to move obstacles and make lives for everyone in the witchcraft community easier.
Plus, I found the background to be especially interesting. From that:
The first ever attempt to quantify data on pagan communities was conducted by sociologist and contemporary pagan expert Helen A. Berger during 1993 and 1995 in The Pagan Census. Some of the questions from this census have inspired some of our own. Around 2,000 respondents provided answers to this survey, providing a comprehensive qualitative insight into contemporary Paganism. The results of this census were published in Voices from the Pagan Census: A National Survey of Witches and Neo-Pagans in the United States by Helen A. Berger, Evan A. Leach, and Leigh S. Shaffer in 2003. In 2009, the follow-up to this study, The Pagan Census Revisited, was published by Dr. Berger along with James R. Lewis and Henrik Bogdan to provide a comparative review of changes within pagan communities and practices.
In 2012, Dr. Gwendolyn Reece, an Associate University Librarian and Director of Research, Teaching, and Learning for American University held on online survey to discover more about the practices within the United States pagan community. When asked about her reasons for holding the study, Dr. Reece said: “Most mainstream religious thinking in the United States focuses its conception of religion on belief and doctrine. However, this emphasis seems to me to be an approach that is more suited to Abrahamic traditions than other religions, and I am concerned that if belief is the primary standard for determining religious rights, then adherents of those religions for which doctrine does not hold the central place are at risk of having their freedom to exercise their religion curtailed.”…
Last year, our friend author Astrea Taylor, wrote this fantastic piece “Take the Witch Census at ‘Witch With Me‘” for Patheos about the many ways in which the results of the census will benefit the community as a whole. Taylor says: “It’s important to get better information about our movement because it seems like most of the information we do have is really old. Additionally, much of it doesn’t seem to focus on witchcraft specifically – many censuses were about counting Pagans, or they used Wicca to get an estimate of the number of witches. This is problematic. Although the vast majority of witchcraft technically fits into Paganism because its non-Abrahamic, many witches don’t associate with Paganism for various reasons. Some witches are atheist, and some don’t like the Pagan label. Additionally, Wiccans only represent a fraction of the kinds of witches out there. It’s a big fraction, but a fraction nonetheless.”
I hope you can take a minute to fill it out. I did, and it’s quite quick, while still having some open text responses allowing us to put in our Naturalistic approach.