Applicants for US Citizenship Surge; Mexicans Least Likely to Apply

Different trend in Canada. Country of origin differences interesting – expect that one reason for lower take-up rates for Mexican immigrants is related to the high cost of US citizenship (about CAD 1,000):

The number of legal immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship has surged by more than 20 percent since 2015, according to a recent Pew Research study – with Mexicans the least likely to apply.

Applications for citizenship were up by 21 percent in the first half of this year at 525,000, compared to the same period in 2016 when 435,000 applied, the report found.

The total number of applications in 2016 was 972,000, 24 percent higher than the approximately 800,000 who applied in 2015.

According to the report, in 2015 there were 45 million immigrants living in the U.S., of whom 11.9 million were “lawful permanent residents holding green cards.”

Among those green card holders, 9.3 million were eligible to apply for citizenship.

Of the 9.3 million, 37 percent or 3.4 million were of Mexican origin, but they were the least likely of all immigrant groups to seek naturalization.

In 2015, 67 percent of all lawful immigrants living in the U.S. and eligible for citizenship had applied – but for Mexicans the rate was considerably lower – 42 percent. That rate hasn’t changed much since then, the report found.

In comparison to the 42 percent of eligible Mexicans applying, 83 percent of those from the Middle East applied and 74 percent of those from Africa.

Middle Eastern immigrants had the highest naturalization rate among all immigrant origin groups, while African immigrants accounted for the largest increase in naturalization rate in the last decade, according to the report.

The report’s research is based on U.S. census data, a year-round survey of 3.5 million households, and a monthly survey of 55,000 households.

Source: Report: Applicants for US Citizenship Surge; Mexicans Least Likely to Apply

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About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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