New York, July 2, 2003 – The study by Guillermina Jasso of New York University, Douglas Massey and Mark Rosenzweig of the University of Pennsylvania, and James Smith of the Rand Corporation showed the percentage of immigrants who are Catholic is nearly twice the percentage of Catholics in the United States.
The finding is striking since Hispanics are now the largest minority in the U.S., having recently surpassed African-Americans, while Filipinos are just a shade under the Chinese as the largest Asian community in the country.
The Catholic faith is represented in the study by 92 percent of immigrants from Poland, the homeland of Pope John Paul II; 86 percent from the Dominican Republic, and 82 percent from the Philippines.
Catholics from Mexico account for 78 percent, El Salvador with 63 percent, Vietnam with 53 percent, and Canada with 43 percent, the study said.
Overall, the immigrant population is broken down into the following: 42 percent Catholic, 19 percent Protestant, and 4 percent Eastern Orthodox. Immigrants professing to be Christians make up 65 percent of all immigrants — nearly two in three people who come to the U.S., according to a study of almost 1,000 adult immigrants in 1996.
The increasing number of Catholics is also notable. The U.S. at its founding was a predominantly Protestant nation and compiled a history toward those professing loyalty to Rome.
In fact, the only Catholic President of the United States was the late John F. Kennedy, who won with a paper thin margin over then Vice-President Richard Nixon.
The study also showed that some 8 percent of immigrants are Moslem, 4 percent are Buddhist, 3 percent are Jewish, 3 percent are Hindu, and 1 percent claim other religions. Some 15 percent of immigrants say they have no religion.
The highest percent of such immigrants were from China with 64 percent, Taiwan with 41 percent and about 37 percent from the disparate republics of the former Soviet Union.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the National Science Foundation.
This article was originally published by Philippine News (San Francisco). Republished with permission.
Philippine News is a Filipino news-gathering organization, with correspondents across the world. It serves the Filipino American community. In addition to its website, a weekly print edition is published.
© 2003 Philippine News