This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Migration and Religion

This week's Economist pulls a story from a new report by the Pew Research Center, "Faith on the Move," which examines the religious backgrounds of people around the world who are not living in the same country in which they were born. Thus, the study is about the stock of migrants, rather than the current flows. Still, the conclusions are interesting. The Pew report notes that:
About 3% of the world’s population has migrated across international borders. While that may seem like a small percentage, it represents a lot of people. If the world’s 214 million international migrants were counted as one nation, they would constitute the fifth most populous country on the globe, just behind Indonesia and ahead of Brazil.
Christians comprise nearly half – an estimated 106 million, or 49% – of the world’s 214 million international migrants.

[This is heavily influenced by the world's largest migration flow--that from Mexico to the United States.]
Muslims make up the second-largest share of people who have migrated across borders – almost 60 million, or 27%, Hindus (nearly 11 million) account for 5%) and Buddhists (about 7 million) account for 3%.
There are more than 3.6 million Jewish migrants living around the world (nearly 2%). Adherents of all other faiths – including Sikhs, Jains, Taoists, Chinese folk religions, African traditional religions and many smaller groups – collectively account for an estimated 9 million migrants (4%).

What drives people to a particular location? The Economist summarizes the report's finding by noting that:
Migrants favour countries that are both economically vibrant and culturally familiar—fewer tempting destinations may be one reason why Muslims are less inclined than Christians to up sticks.
The Pew Research Center website has several interesting resources to accompany this report, including an interactive map and data tables that allow you to draw your own conclusions.

1 comment:

  1. Originating from backward countries where liberty of conscience is denied does not imply that migrants will be forced to stay within the prison of religion. Though inconvenient to most religious leaders, a majority of migrants originating from Muslim countries living now in France are now freed from superstition.