Census question 17 - why is it blank?

8 March 2011

If you've received your Census through the post, you might be wondering what the bloody hell question 17 is about:

Bitterwallet - Census question 17

Eh? What's the point of that, then? Coalition cuts? Censorship gone mad? Or is it a cunning test, as suggested by Twitter:

Bitterwallet - census question 17

Alas, the truth is duller than Doncaster. Unlike most, we've bothered to trawl through the tedium of the Census website (but not before ringing the Census helpline and being lost in automated hell). Now, if anybody else asks why Census question 17 is blank, now you can tell them:

We aim to keep the England and Wales questionnaires as consistent as possible. Question 17 is about the Welsh language and is only included on the questionnaire in Wales. This question is not required in both countries, so a space has been left.

How dull and beaurocratic. That's why we want your suggestions as to what this box can be used for. What question is missing from the Census question 17? Is there some incontrovertable truth that this and future governments should be made aware of? Anyone suggesting anything remotely connected with 'jedi' or similar will be hunted down.


  • PokeHerPete
    Do they do a urdu version of the Census?
  • d7llu
    My minds gone blank
  • d7llu
  • Phil
    Wonder what someone 100 years in the future will think when researching the family history they come across some unique answers for question 17?
  • Dick
    On the welsh census the question is "Did you get the joke about Owain Hughes in Gavin and Stacey?"
  • maxtweenie
    @ Poke her Pete, دو تھے دو ان اردو ورثوں وف تھے کینسس؟
  • 2011 r.
    [...] in 584 Posts Anyone else wondering why Q17 is blank? All your questions answered here: Census question 17 – why is it blank? | BitterWallet To quote: "Question 17 is actually a secret test of our creativity and should not be left [...]
  • David
    @PokeHerPete Yes, in India. This is the UK.
  • Every B.
    [...] you’re working your way through the epic epicness that is the 2011 Census (and all the oddities that lay in wait between its pages), then you’ll be discovering just how much the government wants to know about you. It [...]
  • Slacker
    Just make up the question you'd like to answer and answer that instead. Or better yet, shove the thing in the shredder and don't answer the door when they come round a-knockin'.
  • Busy L.
    just how confusing will it be if we all arrange to be staying over at someone else's house on 27th March??
  • Ian
    The whole population should all go out to one massive all night rave on the 27th March and go straight to work the next day.
  • me
    The answer is no! I am not wearing pants!
  • Kevin
    There are many different language versions, although they have to be filled out in english or welsh! Choose Welsh ;)
  • Iain
    @PokeherPete the census is in English and will be collated by english speakers, there are guide books in a variety of different languages on how to fill it in. If you need help ask - if you do not ask then the knock on effect is that services for speakers of other languages will not be provided in any number because the government planners will be unaware of the numbers of people requiring these services. Census Collectors will be going round door to door to collect those that have not been returned. However Lobbying your local council is still important - despite thousands of Jedi being registered in the last census, they are still under represented in local government decision making.
  • trish t.
    I think everybody ought to carefully put a sticky note over the blank part, and write on it *do not remove this sticker*..
  • Brian D.
    Four possible interpretations: (1) Because of recent civil service cuts, the whole census was designed by someone on work experience. When s/he was discovered to have left out a question by mistake, his/her line manager suggested the best remedy would be to claim the omission was deliberate and hope no-one would notice; or (2) In the space below Q 17 ('This question is intentionally left blank'), we are expected to write 'This answer is intentionally filled in'. Since the state wants to read our minds, the really clever dissident will therefore leave it blank and move swiftly to Q 18, leaving the really really clever dissident to fill it in as expected and thus to confound the state's expectations; or (3) Q17is meant to divert attention from potentially controversial ethnic and religious questions on the same page (anyone else think it's weird that people who are Church of England, Catholic, Protestant or of any other Christian domination need to be reminded that are Christian, implying that people following non-Christian religions are not so silly as to not know which religion they follow? Perhaps Alan Bennett helped design this section; after all, wasn't it he who said that in the C of E the subject of God doesn't usually come up? Or (since I recently saw Matt Damon and Emily Blunt in The Adjustment Department) (4) Q 17 was slipped in there, or the original question deleted from the draft version, by the Chairman himself.
  • jerry
    I think we should find out what the question is in welsh and answer it in welsh
  • jordan
    i just wrote in the box where it was "why waste tax payers money on the ink !!! "
  • Andrew R.
    This comment is intentionally left blank. Please go to the next comment.
  • Peter T.
    This comment is intentionally left blank. Please go to the previous comment.
  • Percy
    "17 Can you understand, speak, read or write Welsh? • Understand spoken Welsh • Speak Welsh • Read Welsh • Write Welsh • None of the above" Source: http://www.ons.gov.uk/census/2011-census/2011-census-questionnaire-content/2011-census-questions---wales.pdf
  • Jack W.
    What about all the Welsh speakers in England?! I know of at least two. I can't help but think there's some racist shenanigans going on here. I'm going to write out the Welsh question and then reply honestly 'none of the above' in Welsh using Google translate
  • john
    I put the following in the blank square, i wonder what prison food is like..... Whats 4 foot long and keeps a d*ck warm? A man city scarf
  • kenn
    surely, if it the questions in the census were designed by someone on work experience, intern, or similar then it's highly likely they had just been told that their contract was at an end once they had completed the current task. as anyone would do, they decided to add a 'fun' question such as, "my boss, [name], is a kiddy fiddler", or "... sucks farm animals", or (more topical) "... gets of in farm slurry".
  • Rosie
    It's 'Do you speak Welsh?'
  • george
    I know the real secret to qestion 17... anyone want to hear it?

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