Religion and Immigrant Youth/Young Adults Research in Canada

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Growing Up Canadian: Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists
Edited by Peter Beyer and Rubina Ramji
McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013


Please click here for more information on this publication including the book description and a list of the contributors.

The Project

This multistage project began in 2001 with a study of the contours of religious diversity in Canada using data from the 2001 Canadian Census. Pursuing certain avenues suggested by this analysis, two subsequent phases of this research examined the formation of religious identities in the Canadian social context among the young adult second generation of post-1970 immigration to Canada, specifically those between 18 and 30 years old and who were born or grew up in Canada. These projects included about 550 such young adults with a wide variety of religious identities (Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist, no religion, atheist, spiritual but not religious, etc.), both Anglophone and Francophone, men and women from across the country but mostly in five large Canadian cities, Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

The current phase of the research is conducting an online survey on religious identity that will include adults from 18-40 years old from all parts of the country, of all religious identities, and of all backgrounds. In conjunction with this survey a longitudinal portion is re-interviewing approximately 100 of the participants in the previous two phases of the project at 5 or 10 year intervals from their initial participation. The aim is to discover continuities and changes in religious identity as these second generation participants move into their more mature adults lives and to compare those identities with the broader Canadian population.

Project Goals

Phase 1: Religious Diversity in Canada: 2001

  • Discover trends in religious diversity in Canada from 1971 to 2001.
  • Understand the correlation of religious and cultural identities.
  • Measure identifiable differences in Canadian immigrant populations from the first to the second generation.


Phase 2: Religion and Immigrant Youth/Young Adults Research

  • Compare the roles and forms of religion among the second generation of immigration in Canada.
  • Understand relation of religion among this second generation to the Canadian multicultural and religiously diverse context.
  • Find main lines of variation in religious lives according to cultural origin, region, gender, and age.


Phase 3: Longitudinal Study

  • The third phase is a longitudinal study of approximately 100 participants drawn from the original participants in Phase 2: Religion and Immigrant Youth/Young Adults Research. This will allow us to test for transformations in religious identity and religious importance between young and more mature adulthood.
  • Those longitudinal study participants will also complete the Cultural and Religious Identity among 18-40 Year-olds in Canada Survey, which will allow us to compare the second generation religious and culture identities to those of the larger Canadian population between 18-40 years old.
  • We will also assess transformations in the understanding and construction of religious diversity in Canada over time.


Click here in order to obtain a list of publications reporting results generated by the phases of this study.


For more information about this project, please contact Peter Beyer at