Irena Kogan, Eric Fong, Jeffrey Reitz
Religion and integration among immigrant and minority youth

Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (Special Issue), 2020: 46, issue 17, pp. 3543-3558
ISSN: 1369-183X (print), 1469-9451 (online)

Although previous studies have examined the role of religion in immigrant integration, little systematic knowledge is available on how much and through which mechanisms religion facilitates or hinders immigrant socioeconomic and cultural integration. The papers in this collection explore the role of religion in the socioeconomic and cultural integration of immigrants and minorities from a cross-national perspective, with a particular focus on the experiences of immigrant youth. The formative years of adolescence and early adulthood serve as the foundation for individuals’ later integration trajectories. In this introductory editorial, we describe the methodological challenges associated with the study of the role of religion in minorities’ integration, and then identify five mechanisms that are prominent in the literature on the effects of religion. We then summarise the key findings reported in the papers included in this collection, and show how they help us understand these mechanisms. These papers highlight variations in the impact of minority religions on facilitating or hampering integration, and help clarify inferences regarding the significance of discrimination against minorities who have certain religious affiliations, such as Muslims. They also underscore the role of social, cultural and economic contexts in determining how religious affiliation is associated with integration outcomes.