FAQ

1. What is Atheist Census?

Atheist Census is a project to count and collect demographic information on the world’s atheists.

 

2. What are the objectives of Atheist Census?

Atheist Census aims to build a picture of the world’s atheists – where they are, their genders and ages, their education and religious (if any) background – and use that information to demonstrate the presence and importance of atheists in societies around the world.

 

3. Who is behind Atheist Census?

Atheist Census is a project of Atheist Alliance International (AAI), a global alliance of atheist/freethought groups and individuals. AAI’s website is www.atheistalliance.org.

 

4. What will the information be used for?

Aggregated to the country level, the information collected by Atheist Census is freely available through the Atheist Census website so that atheists can demonstrate their presence in their own countries. AAI would be pleased to discuss other uses of the information with like-minded groups or individuals.

 

5. Why do I have to provide my email address to participate in Atheist Census?

To ensure that the data collected by Atheist Census is credible each person is only permitted to have one entry in Atheist Census. While we cannot guarantee that each person has only one email address, this approach is a practical way to limit the risk of duplication.

 

6. Why do I need to verify my information through the email confirmation?

To ensure that the data collected by Atheist Census is credible we need to check that a real person is behind each submission.

 

7. What happens if I don't validate my Atheist Census data?

Data that is not validated will be deleted after 24 hours and another entry associated with that email address may be made.

 

8. Can I be traced through my email address if I submit data to Atheist Census?

Once an entry is confirmed in Atheist Census the email address is stored in a one-way encrypted format so that even if the database is compromised your email address cannot be accessed. Unconfirmed entries are deleted from the database after 24 hours. Because Atheist Census only allows one entry from each person, as identified by email address, it is possible for someone who knows your email address to try to enter it in Atheist Census and see that your address has already been used. If you are concerned about being identified in this manner we suggest you establish a free email account for the purpose of entering data in Atheist Census, then abandon the account.

 

9. How quickly will my data show up in Atheist Census?

After you have clicked on the validation link to confirm your data it will be added to the Atheist Census database. The statistics shown on the Atheist Census website are regularly updated from the database, but the process is not instantaneous. Don't worry, if you have confirmed your data, it is included in Atheist Census.

 

10. Why haven't I receive my validation email?

If you think you haven't received your validation email firstly please check your spam folder. If you still haven't received your validation email after a few hours please email us at info[at]atheistcensus[dot]com from the same email address that you used for your Atheist Census entry and tell us. We are aware of a small minority of situations where the validation email is sent but it appears to be blocked by settings on the recipient email server. If you let us know, we can manually confirm your data so that you will be counted in Atheist Census.

 

11. Why is the submission form sometimes disabled?

The submission form is disabled when the email queue reaches a certain level. Atheist Census controls the number of emails distributed so that it is not accidentally considered a source of spam by recipient email servers - if that happens the validation emails may not be delivered at all! We appreciate that it can be frustrating for those who want to contribute - and we want you to contribute - but it's a sign of the project's success that we need to temporarily disable the submission form at times.

 

12. When did Atheist Census start?

Atheist Census launched on 7 December 2012 and was active for approximately 17 hours before a DoS (denial of service) attack took the site offline. At that time Atheist Census had 8,880 confirmed entries with another c. 2,300 pending. All data was retained and Atheist Census re-launched on 16 December 2012.

 

13. Why is there a minimum age for Atheist Census?

We consider atheism to be a reasoned position, which requires that a person has seriously contemplated the concept of religion and concluded that they do not believe in any god. This conclusion requires a certain level of intellectual maturity. While individuals vary we have selected 15 as the minimum age at which we are comfortable that, on average, people have the capacity to reach this conclusion.

 

14. What exactly do you mean by the titles atheist, freethinker, humanist etc – why don’t you provide definitions?

An atheist is simply someone who does not believe in any god, essentially, a non-religious person. However, many people who are not religious prefer to use another title and that title may mean slightly different things to different people. Rather than seek to impose AAI’s view of what those titles mean on people, we want to know which title people use to describe themselves.

 

15. Which country am I "from" - country of birth or country of current residence?

We consider people to be from the country with which they have their primary affiliation. For some people this will be their country of birth, for some it will be their country of current residence, for others it might be the country where they have spent most of their life. It's a matter of personal judgement.

 

16. Wasn’t there another Atheist Census first?

The original Atheist Census was launched in May 2012 by a third party, but, unfortunately, ceased due to technical problems shortly after its launch. AAI subsequently acquired and re-launched the project.

 

17. I was counted in the first Atheist Census - can I be included in this one?

Yes! No data has been retained from the original Atheist Census launched in May 2012.

 

18. Where does the money donated to Atheist Census go?

AAI will use funds raised through Atheist Census to help cover development costs and pay for the ongoing technical requirements and marketing of the project. Funds raised in addition to the needs of Atheist Census specifically will be used to support other projects by AAI to promote atheism and secularism around the world. You can see more information on AAI’s projects at www.atheistalliance.org.

 

19. Who can I contact for more information?

Please email the Atheist Census Coordinator at info[at]atheistcensus[dot]com for further information on Atheist Census. Please contact Atheist Alliance International at info[at]atheistalliance[dot]org for general information relating to atheism, secularism or AAI.