The Cost of Not Being Christian: Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims in Britain and Canada



This article compares foreign born Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims to native born white Christians on four economic outcomes in two nations: Britain and Canada. For Canada, our data come from the 1991 Census, for Britain from the Fourth National Survey of Ethnic Minorities (1994). Theory and research lead us to predict that, ceteris paribus, non-Christians will fare better in Canada on three of the four outcomes. In the main, however, this expectation does not hold up. Compared to their British counterparts, Canada's Muslims fare less well on labor force participation and Canada's Hindus and Sikhs less well on unemployment. Compared to their Canadian counterparts, British Muslims fare less well on unemployment. On occupation and earnings, we detect no cross-national differences. To explain the paucity of cross-national disparities, we draw on Reitz's argument that Canada's reputation as an attractive immigrant destination has been exaggerated. To explain the few differences we do find, we emphasize cross-national differences in religious discrimination and our inability to control adequately for differences in sending countries.