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Religious Affiliation and Attendance Among Immigrants in Eight Western Countries: Individual and Contextual Effects

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This study examines the religious affiliation and participation of immigrants from a large-scale, comparative perspective. I propose a “specific migration” framework, in which immigrants' religiosity is an outcome of both individual characteristics and contextual properties related to immigrants' country of origin, country of destination, and combinations of origin and destination (i.e., communities). I use notions discussed in the religion and migration literature that fit into this scheme. To test these ideas, I collected and standardized 20 existing surveys on immigrants in eight Western countries, yielding about 38,000 immigrants. Applying multilevel models, I found, among other things, that: (1) immigrants from countries with higher levels of modernization express lower levels of religious commitment; (2) immigrants in religious countries are more religious themselves; and (3) the well-documented higher levels of religious commitment among women is not generalizable to immigrants.
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Religious Affiliation and Attendance among Immigrants in Eight Western Countries:
Individual and Contextual Effects
Author(s): Frank van Tubergen
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Source:
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion,
Vol. 45, No. 1 (Mar., 2006), pp. 1-22
Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of Society for the Scientific Study of Religion
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Religious Affiliation and Attendance Among
Immigrants in Eight Western Countries:
Individual and Contextual Effects
FRANK VAN TUBERGEN
This study examines the religious affiliation and participation of immigrants
from a large-scale, comparative
perspective. I propose a "specific migration"
framework, in which immigrants'
religiosity is an outcome of
both individual
characteristics
and contextual
properties related to immigrants'
country of origin, country of
destination,
and combinations
of origin and destination
(i.e., communities).
I use notions
discussed in the religion
and migration literature
that
fit into this scheme. To test these ideas, I collected and standardized
20 existing
surveys
on immigrants
in eight Western
countries,
yielding about
38,000 immigrants.
Applying
multilevel
models,
Ifound, among
other
things,
that:
(1) immigrants
from countries
with
higher
levels of modernization
express
lower
levels of religious commitment;
(2) immigrants
in religious countries
are more religious themselves;
and (3) the
well-documented
higher levels of religious commitment
among women
is not generalizable
to immigrants.
Within
the sociology of religion, surprisingly
little large-scale
empirical
research
has been
done on immigrants.
One reason for doing such a study is that immigration
flows increased
dramatically
in many Western societies after World War II. Currently,
immigrants
and their
offspring
make up a sizable part
of Western
populations,
and their
religious practices
contribute
to the religious profiles of these countries (Smith 2002). However,
the study of the religion of
immigrants
has been hampered
by the availability
and
quality
of data
(Ebaugh
and
Chafetz
2000;
Warner and Wittner
1998; Yang and Ebaugh
2001a). Several studies have focused exclusively
on the religion of a single immigrant group, such as Greeks (Veglery 1988) or Koreans
(Hurh
and Kim 1990) in the United States. Other
studies have been restricted
to immigrants
within a
specific religion, such as Nelsen and Allen's (1974) study of Catholic
immigrants
in the United
States. More recently,
several small-scale studies on immigrants'
religion have been conducted
in specific regions of the United States. Examples
of these include the "Religion,
Ethnicity,
and
New Immigrant
Research"
project carried
out in Houston, Texas (Ebaugh and Chafetz 2000;
Yang
and Ebaugh
2001
b), and the ethnographic
case studies of the "New Ethnic
and Immigrant
Congregations"
project
(Warner
and Wittner
1998).
In this study,
I describe
and
explain
the religiosity of immigrants
from a large-scale,
compar-
ative
perspective.
I develop
a "specific migration"
framework,
in which the religion
of immigrants
is an outcome of individual
and contextual
effects. I use notions discussed in the literature
that
fit into this scheme. Despite the apparent
lack of nationally representative
survey data on the
religion of immigrants,
I was able to collect 20 such surveys for eight Western
countries:
Aus-
tralia,
Belgium, Canada,
Denmark,
Great
Britain,
Italy,
the Netherlands,
and the United States.
I standardized
and pooled these surveys into a single cross-national
data set and examined
two
aspects of religiosity: religious affiliation
(whether
people think of themselves as members
of a
religious community,
denomination,
or religion), and
religious participation
(the frequency
with
which people attend
religious meetings). I test the hypotheses with multilevel techniques and
control for survey
effects.
Frank van Tubergen
is Assistant
Professor at the Department
of Sociology, Utrecht
University,
Heidelberglaan
2, 3584
CS, Utrecht,
The Netherlands. E-mail:
f.vantubergen@fss.uu.nl
Journalfor the Scientific Study of Religion (2006) 45(1):1-22
JOURNAL FOR
THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF RELIGION
THEORY AND HYPOTHESES
In this article,
I suggest a specific migration
framework,
in which immigrant religiosity is an
outcome of four kinds of factors. To begin with, there
are correlates to religion at the individual
level ("individual"
factors).
The religion
literature has documented
a number of "empirical regu-
larities" at the individual
level, including
such factors as age, sex, education,
and marital
status.
These patterns
have been observed earlier
among native, Western
populations,
and the strategy
of this study is to examine theoretically
and empirically
whether these individual-level
factors
equally apply
to the immigrant
populations.
Next to individual
factors,
different
kinds of contextual factors
could also play a role in the
religiosity of immigrants.
One possibly important
context is the country
of origin. Immigrants
originate,
by definition,
from a certain
country,
and characteristics
of their home country
could
play an enduring
role in their
religious practices
in the destination
country.
These characteristics
include the
degree
of modernization
of immigrants'
home
country,
and the conditions under
which
people migrated.
I refer to these as "origin
effects," and they reflect the general impact of the
country
immigrants
come from.
Another
relevant
contextual factor
is receiving
nation.
Immigrants
settle in a specific country,
and host societies could
play a role in their
religious
lives. I compare
the religiosity
of immigrants
in eight different
nations, and examine such things as the religiosity of the native population
and the degree of religious pluralism.
I call these "destination"
factors, and they pertain
to the
influence of receiving
countries,
notwithstanding immigrants' origins.
Fourth,
there are contextual factors that refer to the specific combination
of immigrants'
country
of origin
and
country
of destination.
It could be that an immigrant group
is more strongly
religious than other
groups
in one destination,
but less religious than
the same group in another
country.
Factors
that
account
for such differences relate to the immigrant
community
or setting,
and include such things as the size of the group.
I call these "community"
or "setting"
factors.
In the following discussion, I fit the hypotheses
I have derived
from notions discussed in the
literature
into this specific migration
framework.
Individual Effects
One important
individual-level
factor associated with religion is age. The general idea ad-
vanced in the religion literature
is that
people's religiosity increases
with age, although
different
interpretations
of this association have been proposed. Stark and Bainbridge
(1987) argue
that
at a higher age, people have stronger
fears of death, and religion may therefore become more
important
in providing
the promise of an afterlife. Other authors
(e.g., Chaves 1991; Hout and
Greeley 1990) have proposed
a life course model, maintaining
that "over the lifespan individu-
als typically marry,
settle down in a community,
and have children.
Presumably
they are more
inclined to attend
church
at each successive stage" (Firebaugh
and Harley 1991:495). Although
the role of age is difficult
to estimate due to associated
cohort or period
effects, most researchers
conclude that
age has a positive effect on religiosity (Argue,
Johnson,
and White 1999; Campbell
and Curtis
1994; Firebaugh
and Harley 1991). In view of these arguments
and findings,
I predict
that
age has a positive impact
on the religious affiliation and
participation
of immigrants
(H1).'
Labor-force
status is another
individual-level characteristic associated
with religiosity.
One
argument
made in the religion
literature is that
employed people have less time to be active mem-
bers of a religious community,
and
are
therefore less religious
than those who are
unemployed
or
inactive in the labor
market
(lannaccone
1990). In accordance
with this idea, a general
population
study
conducted in 22 countries
found
that those who are
employed
have weaker
religious
beliefs
and
attend
church less often than those who do not have a
job (Campbell
and Curtis
1994). Hence,
I predict
that employed immigrants
are less religious than unemployed
or inactive immigrants
(H2).
2
RELIGIOUS
AFFILIATION
AND ATTENDANCE AMONG IMMIGRANTS
A third individual-level
factor is sex. In several ways, researchers have hypothesized
that
women
are more
religious
than
men. Some authors
have maintained
that,
because females
are more
risk-averse
than males, females are more religious (Miller and Hoffmann 1995). Some suggest
that socialization might predispose women more toward
expressive values that are congruent
with religious values and
practices,
whereas
men learn
more instrumental
values, which are less
consonant
with religion (De Vaus and
McAllister 1987). In line with both arguments,
studies
find
that women are more religious than men, irrespective
of the measure of religiosity (Miller and
Hoffmann 1995). Because both ideas would apply equally to immigrants,
I predict
that female
immigrants
are
more religious than male immigrants
(H3).
Education is another
possible determinant of religiosity.
One influential idea in the literature
is that at schools, people are
taught
a mechanistic
worldview,
trained
in critical
thinking,
and
that
this mechanistic,
critical worldview is difficult
to wed with the traditional,
religious worldview
(Bruce 1999; Lenski, Lenski, and Nolan 1991; Need and De Graaf 1996; Weber
[1922] 1993).
According
to this
idea,
one would
expect
a negative relationship
between
schooling
and
religiosity.
Although
a number
of studies have found such a negative
association
(e.g., Kelley and De Graaf
1997), some studies
showed no or even a positive relationship
between schooling and
religiosity
(e.g., Smith, Sikkink,
and
Bailey 1998;
Te Grotenhuis
and
Scheepers
2001). Veglery
(1988) could
not find any relationship
between schooling and church
membership
or attendance
among first-
generation
Greek
immigrants.
Although
the empirical support
is somewhat
weak for the supposed
negative
association between schooling and
religiosity,
I hypothesize
such an inverse
relationship
for the immigrant
population
(H4).
A final
individual-level
characteristic considered
in this study
is marital
status;
more specifi-
cally, the distinction between
married
and
unmarried
people. Scholars
generally argue
that,
while
people's religiosity influences the likelihood of marriage,
union formation also influences
peo-
ple's religiosity.
Thornton,
Axinn, and Hill (1992) argue
that cohabiting people-as opposed to
married
people-attending religious services could receive sanctioning
by religious leaders
and
other
adults
attending
services. Furthermore,
Sherkat
and Wilson (1995) maintain that
religious
endogamy is more common than exogamy and that the partner
constitutes
a constraint
on the
choice of new religious options. Thus, although people partly
choose their
partner
on religious
grounds,
they argue that religious norms of the partner
also provide an enduring,
independent
force in an individual's
religious behavior.
In sum, both arguments
predict
that married
people
are more religious than
unmarried
people. This hypothesis
has received
ample empirical support
in general
population
studies (Campbell
and Curtis 1994; Iannaccone
1990; Smith, Sikkink,
and
Bailey 1998; Thornton,
Axinn, and Hill 1992), and in a study
of Greek
immigrants
in New York
(Veglery 1988). In view of these ideas and observations,
I predict
that married
immigrants
will
be more religious than
unmarried
immigrants
(H5).
Origin Effects
The
religiosity
of immigrants
could
also depend
on factors associated
with their home
country,
over and
above
their
individual-level
characteristics.
One possibly relevant factor
is the country's
level of modernization. One argument
made
in the religion
literature is that
people who grow up in
a modem country
are
less religious than
those who were born
in a more
traditional
country.
With
higher
levels of education,
technology,
and more activist
ideologies, principles
like a spirit
of free
inquiry
or freedom
of thought
are
stimulated and an
active,
mechanistic
worldview
would
be more
dominant,
leading,
in turn,
to a lower level of religious
commitment
(Bruce 1999; Lenski,
Lenski,
and Nolan 1991; Need and De Graaf 1996; Weber
[1922] 1993). In line with this idea, a cross-
national study of 15 nations showed that a country's
modernization reduces people's religious
orthodoxy
(Kelley and De Graaf 1997). I assume that modernization
has an enduring
influence
on people's religion, and hypothesize
that
immigrants
who were born
in a modern
country
have
lesser religious commitment than
people who grew up in a less-developed
nation
(H6).
3
JOURNAL FOR THE SCIENTIFIC
STUDY OF RELIGION
I also consider immigrants' religious upbringing.
Because the host countries
examined in
this study are all predominantly
Christian,
social integration
in the religious community
of the
host society will be presumably higher among immigrants
who have a Christian
background.2
Christian
immigrants
are
probably
stimulated in their
religion
by the
native-Christian-majority,
and also have ample opportunities
for practicing
their religion. By contrast,
immigrants
with a
non-Christian
background
may,
due to lack
of groups
reinforcing
their
religion
and fewer
structural
opportunities,
gradually
lose their attachment
to their
religion.
I therefore
predict
that
immigrants
from Christian
origins are more often affiliated
with a religion, and attend
religious meetings
more frequently,
than
immigrants
from non-Christian
origins (H7).
The conditions in the home country at the time of migration can also be important
for
understanding
the religious commitment of immigrants.
The migration
literature
maintains
that
some immigrants
move for religious reasons, because of persecution
and suppression
in their
country
of origin (Chiswick 1999). In many non-Western
countries,
religious freedom
is limited
(Marshall
2000); so migrating
to a Western
country might
be induced
by the possibility
of gaining
religious freedom. Based on these ideas, I predict
that immigrants
from religiously suppressive
societies are more religious and attend
religious meetings
more
frequently
than
immigrants
from
religiously more open nations
(H8).
Destination Effects
Receiving countries can also play a role in the religion of immigrants,
irrespective
of their
country
of origin. One possibly relevant characteristic of host societies is the degree of religious
pluralism.
The religion literature
suggests that, similar to other types of markets,
competition
among religious "firms" tends to lead to the production
or supply of religious goods or services
of the kind consumers demand (Stark and Bainbridge 1987). In regulated and monopolized
religious
economies,
it is maintained,
religious
firms
produce
unattractive
religious
products,
badly
marketed.
Consequently, religious consumption
is expected to be higher in a free, competitive
market than in a monopolistic
or oligopolistic religious situation.
Although
the empirical
support
for this idea is, at present,
still open to debate (Chaves and Gorski
2001; Stark
and Finke 2000;
Voas, Olson, and Crockett
2002), tests have been mainly based on general populations.
One
exception is the study by Chaves, Schraeder,
and Sprindys (1994). They found that the more
competitive
and
unregulated
the religious
environment
in an industrialized
nation,
the more
likely
it is in that country
for Muslims (many of whom are assumed to be immigrants)
to undertake
the hajj (pilgrimage)
to Mecca. I assume
that in more
religiously
competitive
and
pluralistic
host
countries,
immigrants
are more
likely to find
a religion
that
suits their
needs, and
that the religious
"products" will also be of higher quality.
Hence, I predict
that in more religiously competitive
and
pluralistic
host countries,
immigrants
will be more religious (H9).
Host societies may also be important
in providing
a more or less sacred
canopy.
In the eight
countries
I examine,
the
religiosity
of the native
population
varies
from
relatively
secular,
as in the
Netherlands
(where
59 percent
stated
they had
a belief in God in 1991), to more
religious
nations,
such as the United
States
(94 percent
held such a belief; De Graaf
and Need 2000). In the religion
literature,
many argue
that
social groups (e.g., family,
friends,
school, media,
neighborhood)
shape
one's religious environment and are therefore
important
for determining
one's religion (Berger
1967; Durkheim
[1897] 1961; Kelley and De Graaf
1997;
Myers 1996;
Need and
De Graaf
1996;
Te Grotenhuis and Scheepers 2001). Similarly,
in the migration
literature,
studies observe that
people who migrate
from one region in a country
to another
region "accommodate"
their beliefs
to the religiosity of their
destination
(Bibby 1997; Smith,
Sikkink,
and
Bailey 1998; Stump
1984;
Welch and Baltzell 1984; Wuthnow and Christiano
1979). In view of these ideas, I assume that
immigrants'
religious
commitment tends
to adapt
to the religious
context
of the receiving
nation.
Thus, I hypothesize
that the religiosity of immigrants
is directly
related
to the religiosity of the
native
population
(H10).
4
RELIGIOUS
AFFILIATION
AND ATTENDANCE
AMONG IMMIGRANTS 5
The
role of the political
makeup
of receiving
societies can also be important
for the
religion
of
immigrants.
Some argue
that
social-democratic
parties
have more activist and secular
ideologies
than
Christian
and
liberal
parties
(Lenski,
Lenski,
and
Nolan 1991). The more activist
and
secular
ideologies of social-democratic
parties
are assumed
to lessen people's attachment
to traditional,
religious worldviews. Based on these ideas, I predict
that
immigrants
in societies with a predom-
inantly social-democratic
legacy are less religious and attend
religious meetings less frequently
than
immigrants
in societies with predominantly
Christian
and liberal
parties
in the government
(H1
1).
Community Effects
Next to the general role of immigrants'
country of origin and country of destination,
the
interplay
between origin and destination
could also determine
religiosity.
One such community
factor will be examined
in this study,
and
that is size of the immigrant
group.
In a way, the size of
the immigrant
group
is indicative of the cohesiveness
of the
community.
Immigrants
maintain
their
religion
through
interactions
with other
immigrants
from
their
origin
country,
and the presence
of
a large group
of co-ethnics in the direct
environment
strengthens
religious beliefs and practices
(Berger 1967; Durkheim
[1897] 1961; Kelley and De Graaf 1997). Furthermore,
to establish a
religious community
and to fund
places of worship,
a sufficiently
large
number of co-religionists
in the direct
environment is necessary.
Based on these ideas, I predict
that the larger
the relative
size of the immigrant
community,
the higher
the level of their
members'
religiosity (H
12).
DATA AND
MEASUREMENTS
Data
As part
of a larger
cross-national
research
project
on immigrants
(Van
Tubergen
and
Kalmijn
2005; Van
Tubergen,
Maas,
and
Flap
2004), existing surveys
containing
individual-level
informa-
tion on the religion of immigrants
were collected and standardized.
The surveys
were combined
into one cross-national data
set: the International File of Immigration
Surveys
(IFIS;
Van
Tuber-
gen 2004). To obtain
survey
data
that were both
high quality
and
comparable
across
countries,
the
surveys
included in the
meta-file had
to fulfill
three
criteria.
First,
for a detailed
analysis,
the survey
had
to contain
a sufficiently
large
number of immigrants
(defined
as having
been born
outside
the
country
of residence),
and the survey
sample
had
to be (approximately)
nationally representative.
Second, the survey
had to have been conducted
face-to-face using standard
questionnaires
with
fixed response
categories.
Third,
the surveys
had
to contain
independent
and
dependent
variables
that
were comparable
across
countries.
I was able to find 20 surveys that met these criteria, for eight Western countries: three
classic immigrant
societies (Australia,
Canada,
and the United States) and five new immigrant
countries in Europe
(Belgium, Denmark,
Great
Britain,
Italy,
and the Netherlands).
The surveys
were conducted
between 1974 and 2000, but most took place in the 1990s. Table 1 provides
an
overview of the characteristics of the surveys included in the analysis, and the Appendix gives
detailed
references for all the data sources used. I selected the population
above the age of 18,
and
included both males and
females. The number of immigrants
in the cross-national
data set is
38,244.
Two sorts of surveys were collected: some specifically of immigrants
and others that were
of the general
population.
Specific immigrant
surveys are designed to study immigrant popula-
tions. They make use of bilingual interviewers
and may be translated
into the language of the
immigrants.
Immigrant
groups are oversampled,
and the surveys contain detailed information
on issues of migration
and integration.
Because general
population
surveys are not designed to
interview
immigrant
populations,
some immigrant
groups may be underrepresented.
For
instance,
JOURNAL FOR THE
SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF
RELIGION
TABLE 1
OVERVIEW OF SURVEYS
Number of
Country Year Respondents Survey
id Reference
1 Australia 1984 581 AUS84 Kelley,
Cushing,
and Headey (1984)
2 Australia 1988 2,200 AUS88 AOMA (1988)
3 Australia 1990 1,115 AUS90 Kelley, Bean, and
Evans (1990)
4 Australia 1994 159 AUS94 Kelley, Bean, and
Evans (1994)
5 Australia 1995 417 AUS95 Kelley, Bean, and Evans (1995)
6 Belgium 1993 1,327 BEL93 Lesthaeghe
(1993)
7 Belgium 1996 2,370 BEL96 Lesthaeghe
(1996)
8 Canada 1986 852 CAN86 Statistics
Canada
(1986)
9 Canada 1991 7,168 CAN91 Statistics
Canada
(1991)
10 Denmark 1988 755 DEN88 DNISR (1988)
11 Denmark 1999 665 DEN99 DNISR (1999)
12 Great
Britain 1974 3,042 GB74 Smith
(1974)
13 Great
Britain 1994 3,658 GB94 Smith and Prior
(1994)
14 Italy 1994 2,876 ITA94 Natale, Blangiardo,
and Montanari
(1994)
15 Italy 1998 1,807 ITA98 Natale and Strozza
(1998)
16 The Netherlands 1994 2,735 NET94 Veenman
(1994)
17 The Netherlands 1998 4,435 NET98 Veenman
(1998)
18 United States 1988 967 USAnsfh Bumpass
and Sweet (1997)
19 United States 1990-2000 814 USAgss Davis, Smith, and Marsden
(2000)
20 United States 1990-1998 301 USAnes Sapiro,
Rosenstone,
and the National
Election Studies
(2002)
the General Social Survey in the United States does not make use of bilingual interviewers, and is
therefore considered nationally representative only for adults who speak English well enough to
understand the interview (Davis, Smith, and Marsden 2000). Because language proficiency might
be associated with religiosity, I have taken the difference between specific and general surveys
into account in the analysis.
Dependent Variables
I have analyzed two aspects of religiosity: religious affiliation and religious participation.
Religious affiliation was standardized into a dichotomous variable:
(1) Affiliated with a religion (88.8 percent)
(0) Not affiliated with a religion (11.2 percent).
Out of the 8 countries and 20 surveys in the meta-file, 7 countries and 14 surveys contained
information on religious participation (the surveys for Denmark did not have questions on religious
attendance). To render the results as comparable as possible, I standardized the detailed answer
categories in these surveys into two more-general categories:
(1) Attending religious meetings once a week or more (29.7 percent)
(0) Attending religious meetings less than once a week (70.3 percent).
I did not detect problems in comparing the answer categories of both variables because all
surveys in the meta-file contain a fixed response category for no religious affiliation and for
6
RELIGIOUS
AFFILIATION AND
ATTENDANCE
AMONG IMMIGRANTS
TABLE 2
OVERVIEW OF SURVEY QUESTIONS REGARDING RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION
AND RELIGIOUS ATTENDANCE
Survey Religious Affiliation Religious Attendance
AUS84 What
is your religious denomination?
Is it
Protestant,
Catholic,
some other
religion, no
religion, or what?
AUS88 Do you think
of yourself as having a religion
or faith?
AUS90 What is your religious denomination
now?
AUS94 What is your religious denomination
now?
AUS95 What
is your religious denomination
now?
BEL93
BEL96
CAN86
CAN91
DEN88
DEN99
GB74
What
is your religious affiliation?
What
is your religious affiliation?
What
if any is your religion?
What
is this person's
religion?
What is your religion?
What
is your religion?
What is your religion or church?
GB94 Do you have a religion or church?
ITA94 What
is your religion?
ITA98 What
is your religion?
NET94 Do you think
of yourself as part
of a particular
religious community,
church,
or religion?
NET98 Do you think of yourself as part
of a particular
religious community,
church,
or religion?
USAgss What
is your religious
preference?
Is it
Protestant,
Catholic,
Jewish, some other
religion, or no religion?
USAnsfh What is your religious preference?
USAnes Do you ever think of yourself as part
of a
particular
church
or denomination?
How often do you attend
religious services?
n.a.
How often do you attend
religious services?
How often do you attend
religious services
now?
How often do you attend
religious services
now?
Do you attend the mosque sometimes?
Do you attend the mosque sometimes?
How often do you attend
services?
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
How often do you go to
church/mosque/temple?
How often do you attend services or prayer
meetings or go to a place of worship?
n.a.
Do you practice
your religion in a place of
worship
(church,
mosque, synagogue)?
n.a.
How often do you attend
religious services
now?
How often do you attend
religious services?
How often do you attend
religious services?
(number
of times per year)
Do you ever attend
religious services, apart
from occasional weddings,
baptisms,
or
funerals?
Note: Questions
have been translated
into English where necessary.
attending religious meetings once a week or more. Some difficulties, however, arose in regard
to the comparability of question formulations. Table 2 provides an overview of the wording of
the survey questions regarding religious affiliation and participation (translated into English, if
necessary). It shows that there are no apparent differences that might systematically affect the
comparability of responses in regard to religious participation.3 It also shows that the more or less
standard way of asking immigrants about their religious affiliation was "What is your religion?"
However, there are two differences in the wording of the question that deviate from this standard
and that might affect the reliability of making cross-national comparisons.
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JOURNAL
FOR
THE SCIENTIFIC
STUDY OF RELIGION
First of all, in most of the surveys,
the question
tends to assume that
people have a religion
("What
is your
religion?"),
but there are surveys
in which the questions
do not assume this ("Do
you have
a religion?").
The first
kind
of survey
uses a so-called
one-step
method
to ask
directly
for
religious affiliation
(e.g., Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, other
religion, no religion). The second
uses a "two-step
method":
first,
respondents
are asked if they have a religion, and only if they
answer affirmatively
are they asked to specify what their religion is. Although both kinds of
surveys
provide
a fixed answer
category
for having "no religious affiliation,"
the wording
of the
question could have a systematic effect on the response. It is possible that one-step questions
yield higher
levels of religious affiliation than
two-step questions.
In order
to deal with this bias
when comparing surveys,
I included a dummy
variable
in the analysis
that
exactly represents
this
difference.
A second possible source of bias is related to the difference between "religion"
vis-a-vis
"religious
denomination."
In most surveys,
respondents
were asked
for their
religion,
but
in some
surveys, respondents
were asked for their religious denomination.
While questions regarding
religion are more of an indication of self-identified
religious affiliation,
questions in respect of
denomination are
more directed toward actual
membership.
Although
people who identify
with a
religion are likely to be members
of a certain
religious community
and people who are
members
of a religious community
are likely to consider themselves religiously affiliated,
these variables
are not necessarily the same. I have therefore
included a dummy variable
that represents
this
difference.
Independent Variables
The data set contains
independent
variables
related to individuals,
origins, destinations,
and
communities. I discuss each variable
briefly,
below.
Schooling.
Total
years
of full-time education. For
surveys
that
had
no direct
measure
of years
of schooling, I relied on educational
level and computed
the average
number
of years needed to
obtain that
level, using the International Standard
Classification
of Education
(ISCED-97;
OECD
1999).
Labor-force
status. I constructed
a dummy variable for employed versus all other (unem-
ployed and inactive).
Sex. Females are the reference
category.
Age. I measured
age in years and estimated
midpoints
for surveys using broader
categories.
Marital status. I constructed two categories:
married
and unmarried
(divorced, separated,
single).
Modernization
in the
country
of origin.
I relied
on gross domestic
product
(GDP)
as a measure
of economic development
and modernization.
It was measured
in constant
dollars
per capita
for
1980 and was obtained
from OECD (2000).
Christian
origin.
As a measure of religious
background,
I set up a dummy
variable
to indicate
countries
of origin with more than 50 percent
Christian
adherents
at the end of the 20th century
(Brierley 1997).
Religious affiliation. In addition to a contextual-level variable of religious upbringing,
I
constructed
a
variable
at
the individual
level that
measures
whether
people
are
affiliated
to Christian
religion, a non-Christian
religion, or not affiliated
to a religion. Note that this variable
will be
used only in the analyses
of religious attendance.
Religious suppression.
As a proxy for religious suppression
in the country
of origin, I relied
on information
collected by Freedom
House on political
rights
and civil liberties
(Karatnycky
and
Piano 2002). Political rights
varied from 1 (free and fair elections, power for opposition
parties,
etc.) to 7 (oppressive
regime, civil war). Civil liberties varied from 1 (freedom of expression
and religion, free economic activity) to 7 (no religious freedom, political terror,
and no free
association).
I used the sum score for each country
(2-14) and computed
averages
for the 1972-
1980 period.
8
RELIGIOUS
AFFILIATION
AND ATTENDANCE
AMONG IMMIGRANTS
Religious concentration.
I measured
religious competition
and diversity
with the Herfindahl
index of religious
concentration:
Hj = SP2%,
where P represents
each religious
family (or specific
denomination)
divided
by the total
number
of church
members
in a country,
i represents
the index
of summation
that runs over all religious categories in country
j. H equals the probability
that
any two randomly
selected persons belong to the same religion. The index was multiplied
by
100, and ranges (theoretically)
from 0 to 100. The measure and the country scores were taken
from lannaccone
(1991) and
refer
to the religious situation
in the 1970s and the beginning
of the
1980s.4
Religiosity
of the host society. To measure the religiosity
of the native
population,
I have
used
figures
on religious
attendance,
obtained
from the European
and
World Values
Studies,
conducted
in the period 1981-1984 and 1990 (Barker, Halman,
and
Vloet 1992;
Inglehart
et al. 2000). I used
the question:
"Apart
from weddings, funerals and christenings,
about how often do you attend
religious
services these days?"
and
averaged
the percentages
that
participate
once a week or more
for the two study
periods.
Social democracy.
As a measure
of the political makeup
of a country,
I counted
the number
of years in which social-democratic
parties
were present
in the government.
The annual
presence
of social-democratic
parties in the government
was rated as 1 when they formed a one-party
government,
0.5 when they joined a coalition,
and
0 when they were absent
from
the government.
Information on the presence of social-democratic
parties
in the government
was obtained
from
various
Internet
sources.
Because most of the surveys
included
in the analysis
were conducted
in
the 1990s, I considered the political situation in the 1980s. An exception
to this is the situation
of
immigrants
who were interviewed
in Great Britain
in 1974, where I computed
averages
for the
1970-1980 period.
Relative
group
size. I constructed
a variable
for the size of an immigrant
group
relative to the
total population
of the host society in the 1980s and 1990s. I used the 1981 census of Australia
(Australian
Bureau of Statistics 1981), the 1991 and 1996 census of Canada
(Statistics
Canada
1991, 1996), the 1980 and 1990 census of the United States (United States Census Bureau
1980,
1990), and the
European
Union Labour Force
Surveys
(Eurostat
2002) to compute aggregate-level
information
on group
size.
Descriptive
statistics for the independent
variables are
presented
in Table 3.5
Methods
I used multilevel
techniques
to test the hypotheses.
At the "lowest,"
or micro, level, religious
affiliation and religious participation
are affected by individual
characteristics such as age and
education.
Immigrants
are
then
nested
in the macro-level
components
of both an origin
and
a des-
tination,
which affect the odds of religious affiliation
and
weekly religious
attendance
at the same
level. In other
words,
the multilevel
structure
is nonhierarchical
and the so-called cross-classified
models have been used (Raudenbush
and Bryk 2002; Snijders
and Bosker 1999). Because the
variance of communities is tapped
by the variance of origins
and
the variance
of destinations,
it is
not independently
assessed;
however,
I estimate
community
effects at the appropriate origin-by-
destination
level. I made use of Markov
Chain Monte Carlo estimation
procedures provided
in
the software
program
MlwiN (Browne
2002). Because I have
included
survey
characteristics,
and
I have multiple surveys within destination
countries,
I have used country
of origin as the origin
level and surveys
as the destination
level.
RESULTS
Descriptive Analyses
I start
with a descriptive
overview of immigrants'
religiosity.
Table 4 presents
the results
for
religious
affiliation,
and
Table
5 for
religious
participation.
Note that in these descriptive
analyses,
9
JOURNAL
FOR THE
SCIENTIFIC STUDY
OF
RELIGION
TABLE 3
DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS
OF INDEPENDENT VARIABLES
Range Mean Standard
Deviation
Individual
Age
Employed
Male
Schooling
Married
Religious affiliationa
No religious affiliation
Christian
Other
religion
Origin
GDP per capita
(in 1,000 USD)
Predominantly
Christian
Political and
religious suppression
Destination
(surveys)
Religious concentration
Religiosity (%
religious attendance
at least once a week)
Social-democratic
history
(past 10 years)
Community
Relative
group
size (%)
Survey
characteristics
Migration
survey
Two-step
question
Denomination
19-97
0/1
0/1
0-24
0/1
0/1
0/1
0/1
0.10-29.10
0/1
2-14
12-98
3-43
0-6
40.52
0.56
0.57
9.66
0.65
0.11
0.42
0.47
5.04
0.56
8.65
48.65
25.70
2.90
0.00-9.71 0.18
0/1
0/1
0/1
0.55
0.30
0.25
aVariable
used in subset for analysis of religious attendance.
Note: Statistics
computed
at corresponding
level.
survey differences (e.g., sampling, questioning) are not taken into account. Hence, the results need
to be interpreted with some caution.
Both tables suggest pronounced differences in religiosity among immigrants of different
countries of origin. For example, Table 4 shows that the percent affiliated with a religion is above
95 for immigrants from India, Italy, Morocco, Poland, and Turkey. Religious affiliation is much
lower among immigrants from Germany (83 percent), Great Britain (81 percent), and the former
Yugoslavia (84 percent). Origin differences are also found with regard to religious participation
(Table 5). Among immigrants from Poland, 51 percent attend religious meetings at least once a
week. In contrast, only 13 percent of immigrants from Great Britain attend religious meetings
once a week or more. Except for immigrants from Italy, the five origin groups with high religious
affiliation (India, Morocco, Poland, Turkey) also attend religious meetings frequently.
The descriptive figures also give evidence to suggest that immigrants' religiosity differs
between host societies. Religious affiliation among immigrants is particularly high in Belgium (98
percent), Denmark (93 percent), Italy (94 percent), and Great Britain (95 percent). It is much lower
in Australia (80 percent) and Canada (81 percent). In Australia, levels of religious participation
among immigrants are also much lower. Of all immigrants in that country, only 13 percent attend
religious meetings at least once a week. Much higher levels of religious participation are observed
in the Netherlands (33 percent), Great Britain (34 percent), and the United States (35 percent).
15.05
0.50
0.49
5.30
0.48
0.32
0.49
0.50
6.33
0.50
3.96
32.74
11.59
2.43
0.67
0.51
0.47
0.44
10
RELIGIOUS
AFFILIATION AND ATTENDANCE AMONG IMMIGRANTS
TABLE 4
RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION AMONG IMMIGRANTS IN EIGHT WESTERN
COUNTRIES, 1974-2000 (%)
Country
of Origin
Country
of Great Yugoslavia Mean
All
Destination Germany Britain India Italy Morocco Poland Turkey (ex-) Groups
Australia 70 77 91 93 . 93 . 86 80
Belgium - - - - 98 - 99 - 98
Canada 87 85 . 98 - 94 - - 81
Denmark - - - - - - 96 83 93
Italy - - - - 96 98 - 83 94
The Netherlands - - - - 98 - 97 - 87
Great
Britain - - 98 - - - - 95
United States 85 82 87 87 - 96 - - 89
Mean 83 81 98 96 97 96 98 84 89
Note: "." = less than
50 respondents.
TABLE 5
RELIGIOUS PARTICIPATION AMONG IMMIGRANTS IN SEVEN WESTERN
COUNTRIES, 1974-2000 (% ATTENDING RELIGIOUS MEETINGS AT LEAST
ONCE A WEEK)
Country
of Origin
Country
of Great Yugoslavia Mean
All
Destination Britain India Italy Morocco Poland Turkey (ex-) Groups
Australia 12 - - 11 - - - 8 13
Belgium - -- 31 - 28 - 29
Canada 30 20 - 29 - - - - 25
Italy - - - - 20 54 - 26 29
The Netherlands - - - 49 - 49 - 33
Great Britain - - 35 - - - 34
United States 20 21 24 35 - 38 - - 35
Mean 21 13 34 22 34 51 35 22 30
Note: "." = less than
50 respondents.
Next to the role of origins and destinations, Tables 4 and 5 also provide some clues to
the influence of the immigrant community. With respect to religious affiliation, an example is
the German community in Australia. Of the Germans who migrated to Australia, 70 percent
are affiliated with a religion. This is below the average religious affiliation of Germans across
all destinations (which is 83 percent), and also below the average religious affiliation of all
immigrants in Australia (which is 80 percent). Thus, the religiosity of the German community in
Australia deviates from the general differences among origin countries and destination countries.
To give another illustration, consider the Moroccan and Turkish immigrant communities in the
Netherlands. In both communities, 49 percent attend religious meetings at least once a week. This
is clearly above the mean attendance of these origin groups across all destinations (which is about
34-35 percent), and also above the average attendance of all immigrant groups in the Netherlands
(33 percent).
11
JOURNAL FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF RELIGION
Decomposition of Variance
Table 6 presents
the variance
components,
obtained
from cross-classified
multilevel
logistic
models with random
intercepts
for immigrants'
origin and destination.
I computed
two different
models:
one in which countries are
treated as destinations,
and another
in which surveys
make
up
the destination level. Note that
these are
empty
models,
that
is, without
the inclusion
of explanatory
variables.
Furthermore,
I note that the logistic distribution
for the level-one residual implies a
variance
of r2/3 = 3.29 (Snijders
and
Bosker 1999:224).
The total variance
is therefore
composed
of variance between individuals a2, variance between countries of origin rboo, and variance
between
destinations
(i.e., countries or
surveys)
r coo.
Although
it is possible
to examine
the
random
interaction
Tdoo between country
of origin and country
of destination
(i.e., community
effects),
Raudenbush
and
Bryk
(2002) show that
the
cell sample
sizes in these
kinds of model specifications
are often not sufficient to distinguish
the variance
attributable
to the random interaction
effect
Tdoo from the within-cell variance
0a2.
Hence, I refrained
from estimating the variance at the
community
level.
It is tempting to assess the variation at the macro level for both religious affiliation and
religious attendance. This can be obtained by computing the intra-unit correlation coefficient
Pbc = (TbOO + rcOO)/(TbOO + -cOO + -
2), where
a2 is fixed to 3.29. In the case where
countries
make up the destination
component,
Pbc is 0.31 (i.e., (1.311 + 0.158)/(1.311 + 0.158 + 3.29))
for religious affiliation,
and 0.21 for religious attendance.
This implies that almost a third of the
individual
differences in religious affiliation,
and almost a quarter
of the individual differences
in religious attendance,
can be attributed to the country
of origin and the country
of destination.
More technically
formulated,
it means that the correlations between outcomes of two (randomly
chosen) immigrants
who are from
the same country
of origin and who live in the same country
of
destination
are 0.31 (religious
affiliation)
and
0.21 (religious
attendance).
When
surveys
make
up
the destination
level, the figures
are 0.33 and
0.26, respectively.
This suggests that
macro factors
are important
for understanding
the religiosity of immigrants,
and somewhat
more important
for
religious affiliation than
for religious attendance.
Decomposing the macro variation
into two components
results in a proportion
of the total
variation
that is due to the country
of origin Pb (i.e., Tboo/(T boo
+ Tcoo + a2)), and a proportion
of the total variation
that
is due to the country
of destination
pc (i.e., TOO/(r bOO
+ T coo + ar2)).
Interestingly,
when
countries make
up
the
destination
level, Pb (0.28) is much
higher
than
p c (0.03)
with respect
to religious affiliation,
but Pb (0.10) is slightly smaller than p c (0.11) for religious
participation.
When surveys are used as destinations,
the difference with respect to religious
participation
is more pronounced
(i.e., Pb = 0.09, Pc = 0.17). This suggests that the country
of
origin is more important
than
the country
of destination for understanding immigrants'
religious
affiliation,
but that the opposite is true for understanding
the religious attendance
of immigrants.
Note, finally,
that the total
variation is somewhat
larger
(and
the standard
error somewhat
smaller)
when surveys
make up the destination
level than when countries are used. This is an additional
argument
to test the hypotheses
with models in which surveys
make up the destination level.
Hypotheses Testing
Table 7 presents the results of the multivariate multilevel logistic regression analyses of
religion. Model 1 shows the results for religious affiliation and Model 2 and Model 3 pertain
to
religious
attendance.6 In
Model
3, religious
affiliation is included,
for
two reasons.
First,
in addition
to examining
the role of having
a Christian
background
at the contextual
level (i.e., predominantly
Christian
origin country
vis-a-vis mainly non-Christian
origin country), this additional model
allows us to assess the influence
of a Christian
background
at the individual
level (i.e., Christian
affiliation
vis-a-vis non-Christian).
This is important
because the macro-level
concept does not
consider patterns
of selective emigration:
it is possible that minorities having a non-Christian
12
RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION AND ATTENDANCE AMONG IMMIGRANTS
TABLE 6
VARIANCE COMPONENTS FROM RANDOM INTERCEPT MODELS WITHOUT
EXPLANATORY VARIABLES, CROSS-CLASSIFIED MULTILEVEL LOGISTIC
REGRESSION OF RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION AND RELIGIOUS ATTENDANCE
Religious Affiliation Religious Attendance
Variance
Component Standard
Error Variance
Component Standard
Error
Countries as destinations
Country
of origin 1.311 (0.231) 0.402 (0.089)
Country
of destination 0.158 (0.150) 0.448 (0.379)
Individual 3.290 3.290
Total 4.759 4.140
Surveys
as destinations
Country
of origin 1.286 (0.227) 0.392 (0.085)
Surveys 0.343 (0.145) 0.738 (0.328)
Individual 3.290 3.290
Total 4.919 4.357
religion are migrating
from predominantly
Christian
countries (or vice versa). Second, Model
3 provides the opportunity
to examine whether the effects presented
in Model 2 persist after
religious
affiliation
is taken into
account
(i.e., affiliated
with a religion
vis-a-vis not affiliated
with a
religion).
In
other
words,
the model assesses whether
the effects are either
indirect
(i.e., influencing
the religious affiliation of immigrants)
or direct (i.e., influencing the religious attendance
of
immigrants).
I discuss the findings
under five different
headings
below: individual
effects; origin effects;
destination
effects; community
effects; and survey
effects.
Individual Effects
What about the impact of individual
characteristics?
First of all, I predicted
that age has a
positive impact
on the religiosity of immigrants
(H
1). My analysis supports
this hypothesis.
Age
has a significant positive effect on the chance of religious affiliation,
and on the likelihood of
attending
a religious meeting once a week or more. The magnitude
of the effect is 0.018 (Model
1) for religious affiliation,
and 0.026 (Model 2) or 0.025 (Model 3) for religious attendance.
In
other words, with each successive year, the expected odds of religious affiliation
increases by
1.8 percent
(i.e., 1 - e0018),
and the odds of weekly religious attendance
by 2.5-2.6 percent.
The second hypothesis stated that employed immigrants
are less religious than immigrants
who are
unemployed
or inactive
(H2). The analyses
of religious
affiliation
and
religious
attendance
are in line with this prediction.
Thus, employed immigrants
are significantly
less often affiliated
with a religion, and attend
religious meetings significantly
less often than immigrants
who are
unemployed
or inactive.
The differences observed
by sex are intriguing.
I predicted
that male immigrants
would be
less often affiliated with a religion and would attend
religious meetings less often than female
immigrants
(H3). In line with
this prediction,
I find that
religious
affiliation
is indeed
considerably
lower among
males. The odds that female immigrants
are affiliated
with a religion are
53 percent
higher than the comparable
odds for male immigrants.
However,
the supposed lower levels of
attendance
among
males cannot be supported.
According
to Model 2, male and
female immigrants
participate
in weekly meetings at an equal rate. Moreover,
Model 3 shows that immigrant
men
13
JOURNAL
FOR
THE SCIENTIFIC
STUDY
OF
RELIGION
TABLE 7
CROSS-CLASSIFIED MULTILEVEL LOGISTIC REGRESSION OF RELIGIOUS
AFFILIATION AND RELIGIOUS ATTENDANCE AMONG IMMIGRANTS IN EIGHT
WESTERN COUNTRIES, 1974-2000
Religious Affiliation Religious Attendance
Model 1 Model 2 Model 3
Coefficients S.E. Coefficients S.E. Coefficients S.E.
Constant
Individual
effects
Age
Employed
Male
Schooling
Married
Religious affiliation
No religion
Christian
Other
religion
Origin
effects
GDP per capita
(in 1,000
USD)
Predominantly
Christian
Political and
religious
suppression
Destination effects
Religious concentration
Religiosity (%
religious
attendance at least once
a week)
Social-democratic
history
(past 10 years)
Community
effects
Relative
group
size (%)
Survey
effects
Migration
survey
(vs.
general
survey)
Two-step
question
(vs.
one-step)
Denomination
(vs.
religion)
Number
of observations
Origin
Destination
(surveys)
Community
Individual
2.606** (0.207) -2.922** (0.287) -5.877** (0.385)
0.018** (0.002) 0.026** (0.001) 0.025** (0.002)
-0.233** (0.040) -0.228** (0.041) -0.220** (0.040)
-0.423** (0.040) 0.067 (0.043) 0.123** (0.043)
-0.028** (0.004) -0.017** (0.004) -0.015** (0.004)
0.340** (0.043) 0.380** (0.040) 0.363** (0.044)
Ref.
3.476** (0.145)
3.143** (0.161)
-0.065** (0.023) -0.046** (0.017) -0.023 (0.018)
-0.030 (0.179) 0.514** (0.172) 0.215 (0.150)
-0.021 (0.019) -0.001 (0.023) 0.023 (0.028)
-0.002 (0.006) 0.002 (0.008) -0.017** (0.006)
0.015* (0.007) 0.025* (0.011) 0.025 (0.013)
-0.108* (0.049) -0.146** (0.043) -0.090
-0.030 (0.021) 0.008
0.851 (0.527) 0.582
(0.028) 0.008
(0.090)
(0.028)
(0.367) 1.104** (0.250)
-0.613* (0.264)
0.086 (0.339)
140
20
272
38,244
113
14
189
19,548
113
14
189
19,548
*p < 0.05; **p
< 0.01 (two-tailed tests).
14
RELIGIOUS
AFFILIATION AND ATTENDANCE AMONG IMMIGRANTS
more often attend
religious meetings than immigrant
women. Combined
together,
these results
show that
religious attendance
among immigrant
men is higher
than that of immigrant
women,
once the higher
percentage
unaffiliated to a religion of immigrant
men is taken
into account.
Another individual-level
factor examined is schooling. H4 predicted
that schooling has a
negative impact on religious affiliation and religious participation.
This study indeed finds a
significant
inverse relationship
between schooling and religiosity. This means that immigrants
with a higher
education
are less often affiliated with a religion,
and
attend
religious meetings
less
often, than less-educated
immigrants.
Note that the magnitude
of the effect is somewhat
larger
with respect
to religious affiliation
than
with respect
to religious attendance,
and that
the effect of
schooling on attendance
persists
even after
religious affiliation is taken into account.
A final individual-level factor considered in this article is marital
status. I predicted
that
immigrants
who are
married are
more
religious
than those who are unmarried
(HS5).
In accordance
with this hypothesis, I find significantly
higher levels of religious affiliation and participation
among
married
immigrants.
Origin Effects
In regard
to the role of the country
of origin, I first of all hypothesized
that
immigrants
who
were born in a modem country
would be less religious than immigrants
born in a less-modem
nation (H6). In line with this idea, I find that immigrants
from countries with a higher GDP per
capita are less often affiliated with a religion. The magnitude
of the effect is substantial.
For
instance,
the odds that
immigrants
from the least economically developed country
(i.e., $100 in
1980; Table 3) are affiliated with a religion are almost seven times larger
than the comparable
odds for immigrants
from the most developed
country
(i.e., $29,100). Model 2 shows that GDP
per capita
also has a significantly
negative
influence on religious attendance.
Interestingly,
when
taking religious affiliation into account, the effect halves and becomes insignificant
(Model 3).
This suggests that GDP per capita has no direct influence on attendance; rather,
the effect is
indirect:
immigrants
from more modern
nations are more often affiliated to a religion, and for
that reason attend
religious meetings
more frequently.
I further
predicted
that immigrants
with a Christian
background
would be more religious
than non-Christian
immigrants
(H7). This hypothesis is partly confirmed
in the analysis. I do
not find that immigrants
from predominantly
Christian countries are significantly
more often
affiliated with a religion. However,
Model 2 shows the predicted
effect on religious attendance.
Immigrants
from
predominantly
Christian
countries attend
religious meetings significantly
more
frequently
than
immigrants
from
non-Christian
societies. Emigration
flows can be selective, with
non-Christian
people emigrating
from predominantly
Christian countries
(and vice versa);
thus
it is important
to compare the results of Model 2 and Model 3. It appears
that the effect of
religious origin
becomes insignificant
once religious
affiliation at the individual
level is taken into
account. The reason
for this is that
immigrants
from
predominantly
Christian
countries
are
mainly
Christians,
and Christian
immigrants
participate
more often than
non-Christian
immigrants.
This
finding
is in line with theoretical
expectations.
A final origin factor
I consider is the condition
under which people migrated.
H8 predicted
that
religious suppression
in the sending
nation varies
directly
with immigrants' religiosity.
There
is no evidence to support
this hypothesis,
however.
Destination Effects
Another set of hypotheses pertained
to the role of host societies. I hypothesized that the
religious concentration
in the receiving country has a negative effect on immigrants' religion
(H9). I find support
for this hypothesis
with respect
to religious attendance,
but not for religious
affiliation. The significantly
inverse
relationship
between religious concentration and attendance
15
JOURNAL FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF RELIGION
appears
after
religious affiliation
is taken
into account. In sum, I find that
in more
pluralistic
and
religiously
competitive
host societies, immigrants
are
not more often affiliated
with a religion, but,
once religious
affiliation
is controlled,
immigrants
participate
more
frequently
than
do immigrants
in religiously monopolized countries.
Note that it is not surprising
that religious concentration
has no effect on affiliation,
since it is less constrained
by structural
forces.
The hypotheses also predicted
that
the more religious the native
population,
the higher will
be the religiosity of immigrants
(H10). I find positive evidence for this hypothesis, although
the
evidence is not strong. Model 1 shows that the higher the percentage
of natives in a country
attending
religious meetings once a week or more, the more often immigrants
in that
country
are
affiliated
to a religion. The religious participation
of the native
population
also has the predicted
positive effect on religious
attendance
of immigrants,
although
the effect is marginally
significant
in Model 3 (t = 1.92).
The final characteristic
of destination
countries
examined here is their
political makeup.
It
was hypothesized
that the presence of social-democratic
parties in the government
negatively
affects the religiosity of immigrants.
I find that
immigrants
in countries with a social-democratic
legacy are indeed less often affiliated to a religion than
immigrants
in countries
with a dominant
Christian
or liberal history.
In addition,
Model 2 shows that the presence of social-democratic
parties in the government
reduces the religious attendance
of immigrants.
However, on close
inspection,
it appears
that
political parties
influence
the attendance
of immigrants
only indirectly,
by decreasing
the rate affiliated
to a religion. Model 3 shows that, once religious affiliation
is
controlled,
social-democratic
legacy has no direct
effect on religious attendance
of immigrants.
Community
Effects
Besides contextual factors that relate either to the country of origin or to the country of
destination,
I also hypothesized
the effects of a combination
of these (i.e., community
effects). I
predicted
that the size of the immigrant
community
would be positively related to the religiosity
of immigrants
in that community
(H12). However,
my analysis does not support
this idea. I do
not find
a significant
effect of the relative
size of the immigrant
group
on religious
affiliation
or on
weekly church
participation.
In various
other
models (not presented
here), I examined
quadratic
specifications
of group
size as well as the bivariate
relationship
between group
size and
religion.
None of these models showed a significant
effect, however.
Survey
Effects
A final
note on survey
effects: it appears
that
surveys
that are specially designed to examine
immigrant
populations
show somewhat
higher levels of religiosity among immigrants
than do
surveys of general populations.
In addition,
I find that surveys that use a one-step question to
ask for religious affiliation
have higher
levels of affiliation than
surveys
using a two-step
method.
According
to my analysis,
asking
for denomination
or religion does not play a role. In additional
analyses,
not presented
here,
I left out these survey
variables.
This did not change
the substantive
interpretations,
which suggests that
although
survey
effects play a role in "predicting"
the degree
of religiosity,
the regression
effects, which are
relevant
for testing
the
hypotheses,
are
quite stable.
CONCLUSIONS
AND
DISCUSSION
I started
this article
by arguing
that in the sociology of religion, little attention has been paid
to the study of immigrants.
I developed
a specific migration
framework,
in which the religiosity
of immigrants
is an outcome of individual characteristics
(individual effects), the country of
origin (origin effects), the country of destination
(destination
effects), and the combination
of
origin and
destination
(community
or setting
effects). Using notions
discussed
in the religion and
16
RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION
AND ATTENDANCE AMONG IMMIGRANTS
immigration
literature,
I proposed
a number of factors
that
fit this conceptual
apparatus.
Making
use of 20 surveys conducted
in eight Western
countries,
I tested the hypotheses with multilevel
techniques
and controlled
for survey
effects.
In contrast
to case studies that focus on a single immigrant
group in a single country,
the
specific migration
framework
adopted
here looks at multiple groups
in multiple
countries.
In this
way, the religious experience
of such diverse
groups
as the Mexicans in the United States,
Turks
in the Netherlands,
or Pakistanis
in Great
Britain can be compared.
One
valuable
insight
that
came
out of this comparison
is that
immigrants'
country
of origin is more important
than the country
of destination
for understanding immigrants'
religious affiliation,
but
that the opposite
is true
for
understanding
the religious attendance
of immigrants.
Another
conclusion of this study is that across the different
immigrants,
ethnic groups,
and
countries,
several
general patterns
of immigrants'
religiosity emerge. It is important
to confront
these observations with ideas proposed
in the existing literature.
One way of assessing theories
in the sociology of religion is to apply them to a new research
area or population
and examine
their empirical
success (Jelen 2002). Whereas the sociology of religion has focused mainly on
Judeo-Christian
beliefs in Western
nations
(Turner
1983), immigrants
originate
from all over the
world, including both highly religious and more secular nations, poor and rich, Christian
and
non-Christian.
The patterns
observed
in my study
generally
concur
with accepted
insights of the
sociology of religion, and these insights therefore
have a broad empirical scope. On the other
hand, some findings
of my study contradict
earlier
observations
in the sociology of religion and
thereby challenge the generalizability
of well-known
ideas.
To start
with the confirmations,
I find that a number
of individual-level
factors are
important.
It appears
that
immigrants'
religiosity
increases
with age and decreases
with schooling.
I also find
that
religiosity
is lower among
employed
immigrants
than
among
inactive and
unemployed
immi-
grants,
and that
married
immigrants
are
more
religious
than
unmarried
immigrants.
Because
these
relationships
have been documented
in previous
studies
on general
populations,
one could argue
that
they reflect certain
"general"
mechanisms at the individual
level. Thus, while these patterns
have been observed earlier among native, Western
populations
(i.e., predominantly
Christian,
wealthy)
this study
finds
that
they can be extended
theoretically
and
empirically
to the immigrant
population
(i.e., including
non-Christian,
poorer groups).
Also in line with theories proposed in the sociology of religion, I find that the religion
of immigrants
is an outcome of several contextual
factors. Modernization
theory (Bruce 1999;
Lenski,
Lenski, and Nolan 1991;
Need and
De Graaf
1996;
Weber
[1922] 1993) received
support
in my study with the observation that religiosity is lower among immigrants
who were born
in modem countries, and among immigrants
who live in receiving countries with a stronger
presence of social-democratic
parties
in the government.
In accordance
with social-integration
theory
(Berger
1967; Durkheim
[1897] 1961; Kelley and De Graaf 1997; Myers 1996; Need and
De Graaf 1996; Te Grotenhuis
and Scheepers 2001), Christian
immigrants
more often attend
religious services than non-Christian
immigrants,
and the religiosity of the receiving context
positively affects the religiosity of immigrants.
Finally, I find some support
for the religious
market
theory
(lannaccone
1991;
Stark
and
Bainbridge
1987;
Stark
and
Finke
2000): the
religious
concentration
of the receiving
nation is inversely
related
with immigrants'
religiosity.
This study
finds some unexpected
results that
challenge theoretical
insights in the sociology
of religion. Perhaps
the most important finding
of this study
that
contradicts
theoretical consider-
ations is the male-female
pattern.
In general population
studies,
it is well known
and
consistently
found that women are more religious than men, irrespective of the measure
of religiosity. Al-
though I find that female immigrants
are indeed more often affiliated
with a religion than male
immigrants, immigrant
women did not attend
religious services more often than
immigrant
men.
On the contrary,
once the higher
percentage
of immigrant
men not affiliated
to a religion is taken
into account, I find that immigrant
men more frequently
attend
religious meetings than immi-
grant
women. One explanation
for this unexpected
finding
is that
in my study all religions were
17
JOURNAL
FOR THE SCIENTIFIC
STUDY OF RELIGION
taken
together
without
considering
differences
between
them.
It is possible that
specific religious
practices
and prescriptions
are relevant
here. For instance, some studies suggest that in Muslim
communities,
males attend
religious services more often than females (Horrie
and Chippindale
1990). Further
research
that examines the impact of these and other theological differences on
the religious practices
of immigrants
is therefore
to be encouraged.
I could not find significant
effects for several
contextual
factors.
Contrary
to expectations,
I
found
no effect of the size of the ethnic
community
on immigrants'
religiosity.
Although
this ob-
servation
challenges social-integration
theory,
methodological
explanations
for not finding
such
an effect are more plausible.
The reason is that
group size is only indirectly
related
to the more
relevant
idea of the cohesiveness of the immigrant
community.
In more close-knit communities,
religious behavior
can be better
controlled
and sanctioned.
Although
the cohesiveness is partly
influenced
by the size of the immigrant
group, it is also strongly determined
by spatial segre-
gation. In a similar
way, another
observation
not in line with theory
can be explained.
Contrary
to expectations,
my study finds that religious suppression
in the sending nation has no effect
on immigrants'
religiosity.
However,
I had to rely on a rather
indirect
measure
of religious sup-
pression (i.e., violation of political rights and civil liberties). Because of these methodological
problems,
not finding
the
predicted
patterns
at the contextual
level does not imply
that
they are
not
there.
Further
research
could improve the present study in at least two different
ways. Method-
ologically, subsequent
studies could include more precise measures
of the cohesiveness of the
immigrant
community and of religious suppression
in the country
of origin. In addition, it is
important
to overcome problems
associated with "Small N's and Big Conclusions"
(Lieberson
1991), and to expand the number
of receiving countries examined. Theoretically,
it would be
important
to theorize
about
and empirically
examine the role of individual-level
factors
that
are
immigrant-specific.
These are factors
such as age at migration,
length of residence,
ethnic inter-
marriage,
and
language
proficiency.
Although
the importance
of these factors
is well established
in studies
on immigrants'
economic incorporation,
little is known if they affect immigrants'
reli-
giosity as well, and thereby
provide
a valuable supplement
to the specific migration
framework
developed
here.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I am grateful for comments from Henk Flap, Ineke Maas, Loredana
Ivan, Nan Dirk de Graaf, and anonymous
reviewers
and
the editor
of the Journal
for the Scientific
Study of Religion on earlier
drafts
of this article.
NOTES
1. For the sake of simplicity,
I assume that
religious affiliation
and religious participation are affected in a similar
way
by the individual
and
contextual
factors
proposed
here.
2. Note that
this idea is theoretically
a community
factor.
When, for instance,
predominantly
Muslim destinations
are
considered,
Christian
immigrants
would be expected
to have a lower
religious
commitment
than Muslim
immigrants.
However,
because I only examine Christian
destination
countries
in this article, I treat
this idea as an origin effect
instead
of a community
effect.
3. The surveys used for Belgium asked for mosque attendance, because only Muslims participated in that
survey.
4. It is important
to emphasize that the use of the Herfindahl
index in this article does not involve the problems
addressed
by Voas,
Olson, and
Crockett
(2002). They argued
that
relationships
between
measures
of pluralism
(such
as the Herfindahl
index) and
religious
involvement
are
due to a mathematical
artifact,
rendering
a nonzero
correlation
by chance alone. Because I use the religious pluralism
of the total population
(immigrants
are only a small part
of
the population)
and in a time period
before most immigrants
entered
the receiving nation,
the religious behavior
of
immigrants
is unaffected
by this mathematical
artifact.
Note, further,
that
the religious concentration
measure
I use
strongly correlates
(r = 0.91) with an alternative
measure of competition
suggested by Chaves and Cann (1992),
which indicates
the degree
to which states
regulate religion.
18
RELIGIOUS
AFFILIATION
AND ATTENDANCE
AMONG IMMIGRANTS
5. I computed bivariate
correlations at the macro level to examine the association between macro-level predictors.
Correlations
are below 0.50, and the results
are therefore
not severely
biased by multicollinearity.
6. I did not inspect changes in the effects of macro-level variables or changes in variance
components after adding
micro- and macro-level
variables,
nor did I inspect
deviance statistics.
The reason is that in multilevel
models with
dichotomous
outcomes, the residual level-one variance
is fixed and the coefficients of the macro-level
variables,
as
well as the variance at the macro level, tend to increase after micro-level variables
with strong effects have been
included.
Multilevel models are appropriate,
however,
for testing micro- and macro-level
hypotheses (Snijders
and
Bosker 1999).
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20
RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION AND ATTENDANCE AMONG IMMIGRANTS
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21
JOURNAL
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22
... National identification, economic integration, political commitment, education, social mobility and the trajectories of the next generations are still examined more thoroughly than religious identification of people who enter the new country (kivisto 2014 ;Foner, alba 2008). also sociology of religion has been mildly interested in migration (Van Tubergen 2006). Information about migrants' religious affiliation and practice comes mainly from a country's census data as well as from research carried out by single scholars, supplemented by surveys of public opinion, attitudes, and values. ...
... a wide range of denominational groups distract attention and increase sensitivity to their influence which may weaken migrants' faith and religious participation and suggest alternative ways of satisfying spiritual needs (Massey, Higgins 2011). among the factors that may determine the level of migrants' involvement in spiritual practices are socio-demographic variables: age, sex, education, marital status, employment (Connor 2008;Van Tubergen 2006;Hirschman 2004), rural background, length of stay abroad (Connor, koening 2013), commitment to spiritual life in the country of origin prior to migration (Myers 2000). Out of all these variables, participation in religious practices is most often positively correlated with having children in the country of migration. ...
... The only feature that the researched group has in common in relation to religious practices is being a father. It is also the only common element with other studies (Van Tubergen 2006;Connor 2008;Myers 2000;Massey, Higgins espinoza 2011), although it should be emphasized that these studies relate to migrants who raise their children in the country of migration. This is not the case of circular migrants-parents because their children stay at home. ...
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The problem under investigation in this text is the role of religious celebrations and practices in the mobile livelihoods of Polish circular migrants in Iceland. The phenomenon is discussed on the basis of qualitative research conducted among the migrants. The study participants are 18 men who work in a 2/2 rotation system for an Icelandic company. The basic findings of the case study analysis show that religious holidays and celebrations are important points of reference in circular migrants’ work calendar as they help to arrange their schedule to meet work and family responsibilities. They go through Sunday rituals like they do at home. Living their lives according to the Polish Catholic calendar migrants celebrate their national identities and better understand their relation to the host society even if their migration is not a permanent one. The implications of the study are also that religious celebrations have great social and cultural significance for circular migrants.
... The earliest empirical studies on this topic often relied on exclusively or primarily first-generation samples, and generally showed negative correlations such that the least integrated minority members were also the most religious, in line with the barrier scenario (e.g. Phalet et al. 2008;Smits et al. 2010;Van Tubergen 2006). However, since the first generation often 'imported' a high level of religiosity from their (typically more religious) origin countries and bore the brunt of the costs of international migration (in terms of nontransferability of skills and networks, e.g. ...
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This contribution to the special issue on religion and migration reviews two decades of large-scale survey research on changes in immigrant religion and the relationship between immigrants’ level of religiosity and their integration into European societies. The body of work reveals that Muslims in European societies stand out due to their comparatively high levels of religiosity and greater stability in religiosity over time and across immigrant generations. While the comparative picture is rather clear, findings regarding the long-term trend in Muslims’ religiosity and its association with immigrant integration are instead inconclusive. A systematic review of empirical studies of the association of (various indicators of) individual religiosity with immigrant integration reveals positive, negative and non-significant results for all outcomes and domains. Thus, based on the current state of art it is hard to assess whether and why religion forms a bridge or barrier to immigrant integration in Europe. To move the field forward, the contribution ends with a twofold proposal for a research agenda that includes a broadened empirical scope, moving beyond the focus on Sunni Muslims, and a conceptual extension that focuses on differences in reasoning about religion and religious meaning-making as additional, potentially more consistent and more powerful explanation for immigrants’ social relations and positions in their new societies
... Earlier research suggests that the relationship between religion and well-being is consistently found in a variety of countries and among different populations (e.g., native, immigrants, and refugees. See Elliot and Hayward 2009;Grozinger and Matisake 2014;Hackney and Sanders 2003;Hayward and Elliot 2014;Van Tubergen 2006). ...
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Full-text available
We use a large sample of refugees in Utica, New York to investigate how religiosity and the ability to practice religion are related to happiness in one's community. We analyze religious and secular facets of the community in which they live, such as perceived ability to practice their religion, sense of safety, and experiences of discrimination. Contrary to the literature on broader populations, we find that religiosity is unrelated to refugees' happiness in their community, but their perceived ability to practice is strongly related to this measure of well-being. Ability to practice religion remains strongly related to happiness in the community even for refugees who are not religious and for ones who do not regularly attend services. These findings point to the need for more studies to include measures not only of individual religiosity, but facets of religion in people's larger communities, especially for vulnerable populations like refugees. While a voluminous literature examines the relationship between religion and various subjective measures of well-being, most studies focus on how different facets of individual religiosity (such as self-identified religiosity, church attendance, or denominational membership) contribute to well-being. A number of researchers have shown across different populations and contexts that religion can provide social support and coping mechanisms (
... With regard to religious change, the prediction that Muslims in Europe would experience secularisation and a decrease of religiosity has been highlighted by some studies (van Tubergen, 2006;Voas and Fleischmann, 2012;Fadil, 2017). In particular, the increase or decline in religiosity among Dutch Muslims has contradicted this expectation. ...
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The objective of the present review article is to position the role of parents from Muslim backgrounds in shaping the participation and socialisation of their children in Dutch society. It particularly seeks to contextualise the topic among Moroccan-Dutch parents from a cultural perspective by discussing gender issues, religiosity, identity and parental upbringing. The review begins by providing a context on Moroccan-Dutch migration history, religious and cultural background, and socio-economic status. It aims to explore the relationship between the transmission of parental upbringing and the socialisation of children by discussing the representation of Muslims in the media, the portrayal of Muslim women in the integration discourse, markers of identity and sense of belonging, and the impact of parental upbringing values.
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Although Christian migrant groups make up a sizeable part of the immigrant population in Europe, little is known about their religiosity. This paper studies patterns of intergenerational change and proposes and tests hypotheses that specify when and why changes across generations are stronger. Using data from the European Social Survey (2002–2018) on 33 European countries, it is found that there is a strong pattern of intergenerational decline in the level of religiosity among Christian migrant groups in Europe. This process of religious decline is by no means universal. Results show that children from two foreign-born parents are much more religious than children from intermarried (foreign-born and native) couples. We also observe that intergenerational decline is much less pronounced in European countries that are more religious. Finally, when Christian migrant groups belong to a religious minority group, this is associated with higher levels of religiosity in both the first and second generation. It is argued that these insights can explain the ‘puzzling’ strong intergenerational religious transmission among Muslim migrant groups in Western European societies.
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Cherchant le bonheur sous la bannière de la liberté, de la prospérité et de la justice, les Européens et les Américains se trouvent dans une impasse dont l'évolution des souffrances mentales et des troubles comportementaux du dernier demi-siècle témoignent de manière éloquente. Chez les laissés-pour-compte de la modernisation, les pathologies mentales ordinaires résultent moins des carcans sociaux que de l'extension d'une indépendance qui les a privés de cette seconde peau que constituaient les communautés primaires. Les libertés conquises dans la sphère privée se trouvent désormais en porte à faux avec la déresponsabilisation au travail. Le déclin de l'action collective et les bouleversements technologiques ont favorisé une internalisation du mal-être, des addictions et des troubles comportementaux. Parmi les plus aisés, nos sociétés où le rôle des performances cognitives s'est accru ont nourri des pathologies de la rivalité et beaucoup de frustration. L'accès aux meilleures places est en principe ouvert à tous et bien que l'inégalité des dotations cognitives ruine l'idée de mérite, nombreux sont ceux qui se sentent responsables de leur échec, et développent anxiété, dépressions et addictions. Les familles sont devenues les complices de cette compétition méritocratique par les appariements matrimoniaux sélectifs. Si nous n'y prenons garde, une biopolitique appuyée sur les héritages génétiques et épigénétiques risque de renforcer plus que jamais les inégalités sociales.
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This public mental health study highlights the interactions among social determinants and resilience on mental health, PTSD and acculturation among Iraqi refugees in Sweden 2012-2013. Objectives: The study aims to understand participants' health, resilience and acculturation, paying specific attention to gender differences. Design: The study, using a convenience sampling survey design (N = 4010, 53.2% men), included measures on social determinants, general health, coping, CD-RISC, selected questions from the EMIC, PC-PTSD, and acculturation. Results: Gender differences and reported differences between life experiences in Iraq and Sweden were strong. In Sweden, religious activity was more widespread among women, whereas activity reflecting religion and spirituality as a coping mechanism decreased significantly among men. A sense of belonging both to a Swedish and an Iraqi ethnic identity was frequent. Positive self-evaluation in personal and social areas and goals in life was strong. The strongest perceived source of social support was from parents and siblings, while support from authorities generally was perceived as low. Self-rated health was high and the incidence of PTSD was low. A clear majority identified multiple social determinants contributing to mental health problems. Social or situational and emotional or developmental explanations were the most common. In general, resilience (as measured with CD-RISC) was low, with women's scores lower than that of men. Conclusions: Vulnerability manifested itself in unemployment after a long period in Sweden, weak social networks outside the family, unsupportive authorities, gender differences in acculturation, and women showing more mental health problems. Though low socially determined personal scores of resilience were found, we also identified a strong level of resilience, when using a culture-sensitive approach and appraising resilience as expressed in coping, meaning, and goals in life. Clinicians need to be aware of the risks of poorer mental health among refugees in general and women in particular, although mental health problems should not be presumed in the individual patient. Instead clinicians need to find ways of exploring the cultural and social worlds and needs of refugee patients. Authorities need to address the described post-migration problems and unmet needs of social support, together comprising the well-established area of the social determinants of health.