Apostol Simovski, head of the DZS statistics bureau which conducted the census, defended the controversial process insisting that the citizens are at fault for the illogical results.

One of the issues is the boycott of at least 7 percent of the residents – overwhelmingly ethnic Macedonians – which reduced their share and increased the share of ethnic Albanians. But another is the decision to divide Christians into two main categories -Orthodox and a separate category for Christians. As result, the census showed that there are 847,000 Orthodox (46 percent of the population) and 242,500 Christians (13 percent), with 591,000 Muslims (32 percent), as the three main categories of religious affiliation. The categories Orthodox and Christian should be put together, but Simovski said that the census takers could not instruct citizens on how to state their religion.

Many people did not think that it is necessary to give a detailed religious affiliation. So, Orthodox Christians would only say “Christian”, without pointing out the “Orthodox” part. But the census takers were instructed to write down exactly what is said, they could not go into discussions with them, said Simovski.

This result, which presents the largest religious denomination in Macedonia as far smaller than it is caused outraged comments in the aftermath of the census.