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Economic Impact of Naturalization

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Learn about the impact of naturalization on immigrants, the motivations for seeking citizenship and the barriers to doing so.

This report analyzes the impact of naturalization on immigrants, as well as the motivations for seeking citizenship and the barriers to doing so. Among the keyfindings:

  • Naturalization is often accompanied by increased financial security. Legal immigrants who naturalize experience an increase of about 8 to 11 percent greater income than their counterparts who do not naturalize and a 15 percent increase in spending power.
  • Despite the potential economic and other benefits of citizenship, far fewer immigrants naturalize than are eligible to do so.
  • Immigrants are more likely to naturalize if they have high levels of education, speak English well, and have been in the United States for a long time. Refugees and other immigrants from politically troubled countries also naturalize at higher-than-average rates.
  • Barriers to naturalization include low English language proficiency, lack of knowledge about the application process, and the cost of applying – $680 per applicant.

Sumption, Madeleine and Sarah Flamm. The Economic Value of Citizenship for Immigrants in the United States. Migration Policy Institute (September 2012).

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