This Census, will you be identifying as Cornish?

Posted on: 5th March 2021

This Census, will you be identifying as Cornish? When I first came to Cornwall, I was constantly apologising for not being Cornish, defending myself by saying “My husband’s Cornish!” I obviously said it so many times, that he bought me a T-shirt that says “Cornish by Marriage”. Then I went aboard  Will Coleman’s Tick Box Bus, at County Hall, and was given a Cornish passport saying just that!

My Cornish Passport photo; Cornish by Marriage

But seriously …..

This St Piran’s Day as we celebrate all things Cornish, the Council is urging everyone who identifies as Cornish to say it on the 2021 Census survey, which launched on 1 March ahead of Census Day on 21 March.

People here in Cornwall and beyond who want to identify as Cornish on the Census will be able to do so by ticking the box marked ‘other’ under the nationality, ethnicity and language questions and then writing or typing in ‘Cornish’.

Cornish will also be referenced in the Census 2021 online form guidance as an example of a national identity that can be entered by selecting the ‘other’ option.

Leveryn dhedha agan bos Kernowyon – Let’s tell them we are Cornish 

Julian German, Leader of Cornwall Council says: “We’re supporting the ONS in their campaign to get everyone to complete the Census. But our particular focus is on encouraging those that identify as Cornish, whether they live here or not, to indicate that when they complete the Census on or before 21 March.”

“If you want your voice to be counted as Cornish when you complete the 2021 Census this month, you can do so and help influence how services are planned and funded in Cornwall, and to provide information about how the Cornish are performing as a group across the country.”

There is also a language question where you may record your language as Cornish if you are a Cornish speaker.

Councillor German adds: “We campaigned hard for the Cornish to get a tick box on the Census but this was not forthcoming even though the Cornish were recognised as national minority in 2014 and so should be treated the same as the other UK Celtic peoples – the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish.

However, as with the Census in 2011, you are able to use the type-in/write-in option on a number of questions to identify as Cornish and we’re urging everyone to share that message and take that opportunity.”

In 2011 Census 73,220 residents in Cornwall chose to record their nationality or ethnicity as Cornish by using the write-in option. In England and Wales, another 10,279 chose to identify as Cornish.

The ONS will, for the first time, produce an analytical report on the population who identify as Cornish and how their health, housing, work and education differs from those who do not identify as Cornish.

Information from the 2021 digital-first census helps everyone from central government to organisations, such as councils and health authorities, plan and fund public services.  Census outputs inform where millions of pounds of public funding is spent on services like transport, education and health – on cycle routes, schools and dental surgeries.

Information from the Census is also important in helping lots of other people and organisations do their work.

Charities and voluntary organisations often use it as evidence to get funding. It helps businesses to understand their customers and, for example, decide where to open new shops. Plus, those doing research, like university students and people looking into their family history, use census data. It provides important information on population diversity, allowing organisations to know whether they are meeting their responsibilities and triggering action where necessary.


There’s more information about the Census itself on their website

If you need help completing your Census form when it arrives in March 2021 or have not received a Census form by 21 March 2021 visit: or ring the Census Contact Centre on 0800 141 2021. Language support is available via the language helpline on 0800 587 2021.

If you have family or neighbours who do not have internet access or skills, please do your bit by letting them know about the forthcoming census, the option to complete as Cornish and supporting those who may need help to complete it.