Sunday, April 15, 2007

Twice as Many Cuban Immigrants are Secular as Mexican Immigrants

About 14% of Cuban immigrants report that they are not religious, compared to 7% of immigrants from Mexico.

The general story in the New York Times argues that America makes people more materialistic. This is likely to be true. Still, that doesn't explain why the Cubans and Mexicans would respond to the new environment so differently.

Two ideas seem likely to me. First, Cubans are less religious to begin with, from decades of socialism. Second, Cuban immigrants are more likely to be middle class to begin with than Mexicans, and therefore start further on the road to irreligion. I incline to the latter view.

1 comment:

kerri said...

I agree with you on the class point, although I do think there is much less pressure to be openly religious and to participate in religious practice here than in Mexico (and highly visible celebrations and such, such as parading saints, are more scarce), not to mention that I imagine it's sometimes harder to find an accepting church depending on the area. In Danville, for example, the only church I know of that makes motions to be receptive to non-English-speaking Latinos is the Catholic Church. And if you're not Catholic...? I don't think there's somewhere else to go. Plus if you don't have a car of your own or one that's available, it could be hard to get to church every sunday even if you wanted to.