Sooner, Later or Never? Patterns of Naturalization of the U.S. Immigrants, 1980-2010

Zoya Gubernskaya, University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY)
Daniela Pila, University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY)

This paper uses data from the 2008-2010 American Community Survey to analyze the patterns of naturalization of the immigrants from 20 countries who arrived in the U.S. in the 1980-2010. Consistent with our expectations and the previous research, foreign-born from the refugee-sending countries naturalize at higher rates compared to other immigrants. Immigrants from Mexico and Latin America, many of whom are likely to be undocumented, have the lowest naturalization rates. The naturalization rates of the foreign-born from Asia, South America and the Caribbean are in the middle range. The patterns of naturalization also vary by demographic characteristics. Specifically, females from most countries are more likely to naturalize compared to males. While marriage to a citizen increases probability of naturalization for women, it has no effect or even decreases the probability of naturalization for men. Also, serving in the U.S. military is a path to citizenship for foreign-born from many countries.

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Presented in Poster Session 4: Migration and Urbanization; Population, Development and the Environment