Welcome to the 2nd Annual Witch Census!
It's no secret that witchcraft is on the rise. It is now easier than ever to meet other witches and source educational information from books and the internet. Social media platforms such as WitchTok and Instagram have provided a safe space for witches to anonymously share their craft and connect with each other, without the fear of persecution that has hounded the community for centuries.
The increase in people practicing witchcraft coincides with the rise in people seeking solutions to rampant global oppression and injustice, people who feel the loss of connection with their environment, people who hear the cries of the earth as we pillage and torment her. Historically, this is when witches step into their power.
What is the census?
The census is a series of questions designed to quantify how modern witchcraft is developing and provide the community with insight into this magical world we are a part of. Each year, the results will provide a comparable and comprehensive look at the way modern witchcraft is practiced and allow the community to see the development of our craft in a way that has never been recorded before. Last year we had an astronomical turnout - more than 16,000 witches from around the world responded to the survey, enabling us all to get a glimpse of the shape of our community. We used the feedback and experiences from that census to create a new, updated questionnaire which we hope will improve the quality of the data each year.
How will the census benefit witches?
Over the years there have been several attempts at collecting data on the pagan community, but none of these studies have specifically focused on witches.
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."
Dr. Reece went on to say: "I want us all to be strategic in how we spend our scarce and valued resources, including both money and time. I want us to focus our efforts on addressing obstacles that are significantly inhibiting our collective ability to practice. We have not had adequate data to inform strategy and I am hopeful that this survey will be useful as people consider projects and initiatives."
In 2016, American researcher James R. Lewis, a professor of religious studies at the University of Tromsø held a survey called Pagan III Survey, which had around 500 respondents. He wanted to use the internet as a way of reaching more people and providing a better insight into the pagan communities. Reporting on the survey at the time, pagan news site and publisher The Wild Hunt said; "While the new Pagan III survey has some questions that have caused participants to scratch their heads, other academics are largely supportive of any effort to more accurately describe the dynamics within pagan communities."
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."
The short version...
As the witchcraft community is both misrepresented and underrepresented in mainstream politics and media, compiling regular quantitative data on our practices, beliefs, behaviours, 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.
How will my data be used?
Data privacy and security are of an utmost concern to us. Your responses will be kept confidential and private. No attempts will be made to connect individual responses with individual witches. Should you wish to provide an email address (optional), this information will be stored separately from your census responses. Data will be aggregated and reported after the census has concluded. We will never sell or share your data with other companies or individuals.
We appreciate that these questions are personal. Therefore, once you agree to take the census you may skip any question you choose. No further questions are required beyond your consent to participate.
How was the census developed?
Through collaboration amongst a global and diverse team of witches, including those with significant experience in conducting surveys/censuses. To integrate what we heard from the witchcraft community during last year’s census, we reviewed best practices and worked with experts in inclusion and other areas to increase the sensitivity of the questions we ask are asking. This work has been earnest and sincere and yet we acknowledge that it’s not perfect either. Therefore, we have acknowledged limitations on particular questions and included an open comment question near the end. If you have any suggestions or concerns about this census, we invite you to share them and help continually improve this census.
Please read these before filling in the form!
Q: Can I still participate even if I am a beginner witch?
A: Yes. We encourage all witches to participate in this census.
Q: Is the Witch Census 2021 confidential?
A: Yes. All individual answers are strictly confidential.
Q: Do I need to use my real name or email address?
A: No, There is no personal identification needed to take the Witch Census 2021. You may opt to provide us with your email if you would like to receive Witch Census 2021 updates from Witch With Me.
Q. Is the census GDPR compliant?
A. Yes, the surveys are anonymous and IP data will not be stored with the form submissions.
Q: Will the results of the Witch Census 2021 be public and accessible?
A. Yes. The results will be posted on witchwithme.com and fully accessible to the general public.
Q: Will the results be used by Witch With Me for marketing?
A: No. The aim is information gathering for community building and strengthening.
Q: Will you allow public use of the results?
A: Of course! We are eager to see how this data helps inform and shape our community.
Q: Can I share information about the Witch Census 2021 on my personal or business social media pages?
A: Absolutely! We are relying on you to get the word out about the Witch Census 2021. The more responses we have, the richer the data will be!
The Witch Census is Sponsored by
Want to see the census results first?
If you would like to be among the first to get an email summary of census results, be entered in a drawing to receive free entry to our Keys to Witchcraft Mentorship, and join our mailing list, simply enter your email address below!
We will never use your email address to connect you to your question responses.