Census of the Heart 

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While the national census asks who we are, Census of the Heart wants to know how we are. We want to get straight to the heart of things and explore what really matters to people living in Ireland today. We want to know how you feel at this pivotal moment in time…
— Census of the Heart  2016

Census of the Heart was an alternative census in Ireland created by Kathy Scott and Mari Kennedy and produced by The Trailblazery in 2016. This national survey was a creative response to The National Census of Ireland which took place in Ireland on the night of April 24, coinciding with the precise anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. Our alternative census was a national enquiry that aimed to capture the emotional state of the nation by including the deeper dimension of people’s lived experience and what it really meant to be alive in Ireland exactly 100 years after the Rebellion.

Census of the Heart is a social and cultural intervention where the domains of creativity, science and citizenship converge. It was created to inspire and engage with the inner world(s) of a nation and start a new conversation about care in our society and value based economics.

Census of the Heart set out discover our place in history and our place in the future. We invited the respondents on a journey “back to the future“ from 1916 to 2016 and forward out into 2116. We wanted people to have an opportunity to go inwards, check in and express themselves. We wanted to know what matters to us as individuals, as a society, as a country and as a planet. We wanted to inspire future dreaming and encourage an inner revolution – a revolution of the heart.

Census of The Heart is now a unique repository of knowledge that holds the intimate hopes, regrets, fears and dreams of almost 12,000 people in Ireland. Our alternative census presents an opportunity to explore & investigate the relationship between who we are and how we are and places the human experience at the centre of our enquiry. This intervention brings awareness to the fact that the human experience is not considered important in the data currently collected and the decisions made in response to that data.

We created Census of the Heart because we wanted to:

•Imagine a society where people feel valued, included, cared about and listened to

•Give people an opportunity to express themselves and their life choices

•Ask new questions to evolve the data we are currently gathering

•Influence future history by asking questions that go wider and deeper

•Present a more multifaceted spectrum of society so we can plan for the future

•Focus intention and attention on new information

•Reflect the complexity of values and perspectives in our society today

The Census of the Heart preliminary report scratches the surface providing some rich findings that explore the complexity of being human in Ireland in 2016. Most importantly, like all good research, the report tells us things we might not have known before, revealing areas ripe for more questions and deeper research. To read the full Census of the Heart Preliminary Report please click below.