March 8, 2012

Faith on the Move - The Religious Affiliation of International Migrants

Unaffiliated Migrants

fonm-300x200Among religiously unaffiliated migrants – a plurality of whom have come from the Asia-Pacific region – the main destination regions have been Europe and North America.

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The three largest countries of origin for religiously unaffiliated migrants are, or recently were, officially atheist states. Many of these migrants have come from China (about 4 million), followed by two countries of the former Soviet Union – Kazakhstan and Russia (each more than 1 million). Significant numbers of unaffiliated migrants also have come from the United Kingdom, Germany and Mexico.

More than 4 million religiously unaffiliated migrants have moved to the United States, many from China. Sizable numbers of unaffiliated migrants, including many from China, also live in Canada (about 1.3 million), Australia (nearly 1 million) and Hong Kong (nearly 1 million). The large populations of unaffiliated migrants in Russia (more than 2 million) and Ukraine (more than 500,000) are mostly due to changing borders since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

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