MPI Study Examines Latest Naturalization Data

Who are the new Americans of today? A recent report from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, paints a fascinating statistical portrait of the latest cohort of naturalized Americans. [See Naturalization Trends in the United States, by Gregory Auclair and Jeanne Batalova, Migration Policy Institute, 24.Oct.2013.]

First off, the raw numbers: in fiscal year 2012, MPI reports, 40.8 million immigrants lived in the United States, including 18.7 million naturalized U.S. citizens, and nearly 8.8 million lawful permanent residents who were eligible for naturalization, and three states accounted for just over half of them: California (28%, or 2.5 million), New York (12%, or 1.1 million), and Texas (11%, or 930,000). That year, approximately 757,000 immigrants naturalized here, according to estimates from the Office of Immigration Statistics within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Where do they come from? In 2012, just over one-third of newly naturalized U.S. citizens were born in one of the top five sending countries: Mexico (13.5%), Philippines (5.9%), India (5.7%), Dominican Republic (4.4%), and China (4.2%). This marked a significant shift from the demographics of naturalization in the year 2000, when the top five included Mexico (21.3%), Vietnam (6.3%), China (6.1%), Philippines (5.2%), and India (4.7%).

Not surprisingly, several key socioeconomic indicators show that naturalized immigrants tend to be better off than other immigrant groups. MPI’s study finds that naturalized immigrants:

  • “are better educated than immigrants who have not naturalized.”
  • “have higher median earnings than non-naturalized immigrants and higher median household incomes than U.S.-born citizens.”
  • “have nearly equivalent home-ownership rates to U.S.-born citizens.”

The MPI report makes compelling reading for anyone interested in the demographics of the newest Americans. It’s well worth a look.

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