Another way to see patterns in global migration is to look
individually at each religious group. Among Christian migrants, the main
destination regions have been North America and Europe. European countries, as a
whole, are also the leading source of Christian migrants, accounting for more
than four-in-ten worldwide (44%). About three-in-ten Christian migrants
originate from Latin America and the Caribbean.
The largest single country of origin for Christian migrants,
however, has been Mexico, with more than 12 million. Most of them now reside in
the United States, which has taken in a total of about 32 million Christian
migrants, nearly two-thirds originating in Latin America.
Russia and Ukraine have been major
sources as well as major destinations of Christian migrants, mostly due to
changing international borders following the collapse of the Soviet Union.5
Other European countries (such as the
United Kingdom, Poland, Germany and Italy) also are the origin of sizable numbers of
Christian emigrants, many of whom have gone to the United States, Canada and
Meanwhile, most Christian immigrants living in Germany (about
5.5 million) and Italy (about 2.5 million) were born in other European countries,
including those in Eastern Europe. The same is true for almost half of the United
Kingdom’s nearly 3.5 million Christian immigrants. Spain’s large population
of Christian immigrants (nearly 4.6 million) consists principally of migrants
from Latin America as well as Romania, the United Kingdom, Germany and France.
Many Christian immigrants to Canada (about 4.2 million) and Australia (about
2.8 million) have come from Europe, especially the United Kingdom.
5 During the 1990s, many former Soviet
citizens moved between the 15 newly independent countries that had comprised
the Soviet Union. In addition, many people did not physically move but
nonetheless found themselves in a new country when international borders were
redrawn. People born in Russia but living in Ukraine, for example, were classified as international migrants when Ukraine became an independent state. (return to text)