The immigrant population of the European Union (EU) is mostly Christian, albeit with a substantial Muslim minority, a new research has revealed.
The report on religion and international migration by US based Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life shows that there are an estimated 26 million Christian immigrants (56%) and nearly 13 million Muslim immigrants (27%) living in the 27 countries of the EU.
However, when internal migration within the EU is excluded, and only people born outside of the 27 EU nations are counted as immigrants, the share of Christian immigrants (42%) and the share of Muslim immigrants (39%) are much closer.
There are about 6.7 million immigrants living in France. Its Christian immigrants (about 2.8 million) are predominantly from other European countries. France’s Muslim immigrants (about 3 million) are primarily from the former French colonies of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.
Most Christian immigrants living in Germany (about 5.5 million) and Italy (about 2.5 million) are from other European countries, including those in Eastern Europe.
Germany’s foreign-born Muslim immigrants (estimated at more than 3 million) are primarily from Turkey. Spain’s large population of Christian immigrants (nearly 4.6 million) consists principally of migrants from Latin America as well as Romania, the United Kingdom, Germany and France.
About one-in-ten immigrants in the 27 EU states have no particular religious affiliation, and the remainder belong to a variety of smaller religious groups, including Hindus, Buddhists and Jews.
Hindu immigrants to the EU states are mostly from India, and the religiously unaffiliated have come mostly from Russia and China.
Buddhist immigrants in the EU are from a variety of Asian countries, including Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Thailand. The largest number of Jewish immigrants to the EU have come from Israel.