Number of Morris Census responses received

Key findings
  • The Morris Census received responses from 594 sides from the UK and around the world, including 492 in the UK which represents 64% of all sides. 
  • Such a good response rate means the results give a very detailed picture of the morris community in the UK and across the world.

Thank you to all the sides that responded to the Morris Census! This survey would not have been possible without all of you taking the time to send a contribution.

This page presents how many sides responded and what we know about those sides that did and did not respond. The Morris Census had responses from 594 sides, including 492 from the UK and 102 from the rest of the world. The response rate from UK sides was 64% and the rate was similar in Australia and New Zealand. It is difficult to know how many sides there are in the USA and Canada, so it was not possible to calculate a response rate for those sides.

Response rates for Cotswold sides were particularly high, whereas response rates for Appalachian, Clog Step, Rapper and Longsword were quite low. Because participation rates differed among different types of team, all Morris Census analysis is weighted.

Responses to the Morris Census

Lists of all the sides that are current members of the Morris Federation, Morris Ring and Open Morris are published and regularly updated on the website of each respective organisation, and the same is the case for sides in Australia and New Zealand. Knowing the total number of sides that could have responded, means we can calculate the response rate. While lists of teams in the United States and Canada exist, they are not regularly kept up to date so might contain defunct sides.

Where it is known, the total number of sides is shown below, along with the response rate for organisations (in the UK) and countries. The average response rate among UK member sides of a JMO organisation was 65%, which is a good response rate. It is similar to other surveys, such as the 2010 Morris Ring Questionnaire and local surveys.

The response rate was highest in Open Morris (my great thanks to Kim Woodward for sending email reminders that boosted the number of responses) and lowest in the Morris Federation (60%) and Australia (58%).

The response rate did not only differ by organisation, but also by style. In the UK, Cotswold sides were most likely (72%) to respond followed by Border, North West and Molly sides (64-70%), with lower response rates among Clog Step, Appalachian, (and despite the best efforts of the Sword Dance Union) Rapper and Longsword sides (43-51%).

If we assume that sides that did not respond have similar other characteristics on average to those that did respond, then statistical weights can be used on the data. Weighting increases the contribution that types of side with low response rates make to the average and decreases the contribution that types of side with high response rates make to the average. Therefore, averages are representative of all types of sides, rather than just representative of those that responded.

As it is hard to know exactly how many sides there are in the USA, Canada, and UK sides that are not affiliated to an organisation, so those sides have a weight of 1.

Who responded?

The survey was designed so that any member of the side could fill it in accurately without necessarily needing to consult the rest of the side. This would save them time and reduce the burden of the survey on the side, hopefully increasing the response rate. However, many sides have said to me that they filled in the survey collaboratively, e.g. at one of the sides' practices, which is great too!

The graphic below shows the roles of individuals within the side that submitted the survey: in most cases this was the secretary or the captain/ team leader.


  1. From my experiece, many sword dancers and step dancers don't identitfy as 'morris dancers'. This might explain why there was not a great interest or uptake to the survey.

    1. Definitely - this was the feedback sword dance sides and steppers gave me! Any suggestions for a better name?

    2. I dance Rapper and consider myself not to be a morris dancer, mainly because I don't dance morris.

      Folk dancing could work? Just don't use the work traditional.


  2. "Display dancers" covers everything. But then you'd have to include the belly dancers too. ;-)

  3. Yes, if this was meant to be a survey of morris, why were step dancers included at all? They've never been thought of as morris.

    1. I sampled all member sides of the three main morris organisations - generally step dancers are members of one of the three morris organisations. Terminology and definition is tricky. Any ideas for a better name for the survey?

  4. Morris, sword and step dancers survey?