Chart of the Month: Muslim migration is relatively small

Immigration is a tricky topic when we can’t agree on the numbers, and aside from that is an evergreen political hot potato. Among many legitimate concerns and disagreements, New Zealand has to contend with Islamophobic arguments despite levels of migration being relatively low.

This month’s chart shows that residences granted to 52,000 people from Muslim-majority countries over 20 years only comprise 6% of the people granted residence in this period. The largest Muslim-majority source country was Malaysia, which is 12th overall, with 14,800 people; this is 1/10th the number from the largest source country, the UK. The second largest is Pakistan, which is 22nd overall, with 6,400 people. Of the top 50 source countries, only 9 are Muslim-majority.

The data comes from MBIE’s Migration Trends Report, with Muslim-majority countries identified by Wikipedia. The concept of Muslim-majority countries is only a proxy for actual Muslim migrants – some of these countries have sizable non-Muslim majorities, and some others have sizable Muslim majorities (most notably India).

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