Race, Religion, and the Social Integration of New Immigrant Minorities in Canada1


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    This research was supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council – Canadian Heritages Joint Initiative on “Multiculturalism Issues.” Analysis was conducted at the Toronto Region Statistics Canada Research Data Centre (RDC) at the University of Toronto, and the assistance of its staff has been greatly appreciated. The authors wish to thank Raymond Breton for his helpful comments on an earlier draft.


The social integration of Canada’s new religious minorities is determined more by their racial minority status than by their religious affiliation or degree of religiosity, according to results from Statistics Canada’s 2002 Ethnic Diversity Survey. Interview questions tap life satisfaction, affective ties to Canada, and participation in the wider community. Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Hindus are slower to integrate socially, mainly because they are mostly racial minorities. Degree of religiosity affects social integration in the same ways as ethnic community attachments in general, positively for some dimensions, negatively for others, and similarly for different religious groups. Patterns are similar in Quebec and the rest of Canada; results carry implications for the debate over “reasonable accommodation” of religious minorities in Quebec, and parallel debates in other provinces and countries.