Religious and Secular Voluntary Participation by Immigrants in Canada: How Trust and Social Networks Affect Decision to Participate

Lili Wang, Femida Handy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    37 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Participation in voluntary associations is an important part of an immigrant’s integration into a host country. This study examines factors that predispose an immigrant’s voluntary involvement in religious and secular organizations compared to non-immigrants (“natives”) in Canada, and how immigrants differ from natives in their voluntary participation. The study results indicate that informal social networks, religious attendance, and level of education positively correlate with the propensity of both immigrants and natives to participate and volunteer in religious and secular organizations. Immigrants who have diverse bridging social networks, speak French and/or English at home, and either attend school or are retired are more likely to participate and volunteer for secular organizations. Further, social trust matters to native Canadians in their decision to engage in religious and secular organizations but not to immigrants. Pride and a sense of belonging, marital status, and the number of children increase the likelihood of secular voluntary participation of natives but not of immigrants. These findings extend the current understanding of immigrant integration and have important implications for volunteer recruitment.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1559-1582
    Number of pages24
    JournalVoluntas
    Volume25
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Dec 2014

    Keywords

    • Immigrants
    • Religious and secular organizations
    • Social networks
    • Trust
    • Voluntary participation

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Business and International Management
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Public Administration
    • Strategy and Management

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