International Migration and Religious Selection


Phillip Connor, Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life, Washington, DC. E-mail:


Migrants are selected by several characteristics (age, education, skill, health, and family migration experience). Often less examined is religious selection. Using Guatemalan data, this research note tests whether religious affiliation is significantly associated with migration to the United States, net of other competing factors. Results are robust, demonstrating that Protestants are more likely than other religious groups to migrate. Additionally, mediating factors (social networks, cultural norms, and ideological links) are tested to identify social mechanisms behind the Protestant effect. The research note concludes with implications of religious selection and how religious selection can be further examined in migration and religion studies.