The Diversity of Asian Immigrants’ Participation in Religious Institutions in the United States (2015)

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Social scientific studies of new immigrants’ religious practices over the last 30 years have been based largely on ethnographic research on immigrant religious institutions. Two major themes emerging from these studies are that (1) non-Christian religious institutions have been transformed in the U.S. context, following the Protestant congregational model, and (2) immigrant religious institutions mainly serve ethnicity and social-service functions for their members. Since Asian immigrants mainly represent non-Christian religious groups, a major survey study of their religious participation sheds new light on these two themes. This study fills a gap in research on Asian immigrants’ institutional religious practices by providing comprehensive statistics using survey data. As expected, our analysis produces important findings that supplement previous and mostly ethnographic studies related to the two major themes. Our major findings also indicate that Asian Protestant and Catholic immigrant groups significantly differ from their American counterparts in institutional religious practices.