2011 Census: Cornish identity

73,200, or 14% of the total population, stated in the 2011 Census that they have Cornish national identity

Information on the Cornish National Identiy is included in 2011 Census; An overview of the headline figures for Cornwall

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Background to Cornish and the Census

The Census in 2001 was the first to enable people to identify themselves as Cornish under the White: British category, by writing in the word Cornish. In 2001, some 37,000 people recorded their ethnicity as Cornish.

There was no specific tick-box category for Cornish in either the ethnic group or in the national identity questions in the 2011 Census, however, as in the 2001 Census, there were write-in options which provided the opportunity for people to describe themselves as Cornish, if they wished to do so. Statistics from the 2011 Census will include analysis of written-in responses.  

Anyone who recorded their national identity as Cornish using the write-in option will be coded, alongside anyone who recorded themselves as both British and Cornish (the national identity question allows for multiple identification). 

The main language question, available for the first time in the 2011 Census, also enabled Cornish people to record their language for the first time, and will therefore provide important statistics on the prevalence of the language in Cornwall.

In the 2011 Census the three questions that apply to ‘Cornish’ were:
15. What is your national identity?
16. What is your ethnic group?
18   What is your main language ?

During the Census period the Council put together a poster containing information on how people could complete their forms with 'Cornish' should they wish to do so.

Anyone who recorded themselves as Cornish using the write-in option will be coded and for the first time, the Census (ONS) will be publishing Cornish statistics as part of the standard Census tables within the general release calendar.

There will be 4 releases of Census data between 16 July 2012 and October 2013 and the first release of data on Cornish will be between November 2012 and February 2013. This will include those who identified themselves as Cornish under both ethnic group and national identity down to the lowest level of census geography, specifically:

  • Key Statistics Table: National identity
  • Quick Statistics Table: Ethnic (write-in) groups (England and Wales)

ONS have also announced that they will be producing a range of products designed around small population groups. These will explore the characteristics of some small population groups, and it has been confirmed that Cornish is one of these groups, subject to meeting ONS determined population thresholds. Small population data (Cornish) will only be produced if there are 50 or more qualifying people in the given middle layer super output area geography. The implication of this is that possibly less information will be available for certain geographies if this threshold is not met. Separate sets of outputs are being developed for areas where there are 100 or more, and 200 or more, people from the same small population group.

More information on these products will be made available at a later date, but data is unlikely to be available before July 2013.

The Council will undertake analysis of these figures once released. There may be a requirement for the Council to commission tables from the Census (ONS), however, until the details of the small population group data is made available it is not possible to take a view as to what additional information is required.