Naturalizations by the Numbers

After more than a decade of decreasing immigration from Latin America, recent Census Bureau data from 2013 reveal that more immigrants to the U.S. are coming from China and India than from Mexico.

The Census Bureau recorded a total of 19.4 million Asian Americans in the U.S. in 2013 (including those who were born here). In 2011,  the most recent year for which specific data are available, the number of foreign-born Asians in the U.S. was 11.6 million. Of those, approximately 58 percent were naturalized U.S. citizens. This compares with 40 percent of the overall foreign-born population who were naturalized.

In 2011, the states with the highest percentage of foreign-born Asians were Hawaii (14 percent), California (10 percent) and New Jersey (7 percent). The top countries of origin were China, with more than 2.2 million foreign-born people in the U.S., followed by India and the Philippines, each with more than 1.8 million.

According to Department of Homeland Security data, the largest number of immigrants who became citizens in 2013 were from Asia — almost 276,000, with India (almost 50,000), the Philippines (43,000) and China (35,000) leading the list of countries of origin.

Immigrants from Asia spend, on average, six years in permanent resident status before naturalizing. This is lower than the national average of seven years, but Asians are not the quickest to naturalize: Immigrants from Africa tend to naturalize as soon as they have met the residency requirement of five years.

In some New Americans Campaign cities, the countries of origin of Asian immigrant groups with the greatest numbers naturalizing, according to the 2013 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, are:

  • New York City: China, India and Bangladesh
  • Los Angeles: The Philippines, Vietnam and China
  • Houston: India, Vietnam and Pakistan
  • San Jose: India, Vietnam and the Philippines

With much smaller populations of Asian immigrants, the top countries of origin for Asian-Americans becoming naturalized in Detroit are India, Pakistan and the Philippines, and in Charlotte, the top countries are India, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Posted on May 20, 2015

Our Impact

  • The Campaign has completed over 3,700 naturalization workshops and clinics.
  • Over 250,000 citizenship applications completed since July 2011.

    Saved aspiring citizens and their families over $206million in legal and application fees.
  • Adopted scalable technology. MP3 players, Google Voice, and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services are being used to enhance naturalization service delivery.
  • Expanded New American Workforce (an effort to provide naturalization assistance within corporations) which has partnered with over 100 businesses across the nation, ranging from hotels in Miami to American Apparel in Los Angeles.
  • Deployed Citizenshipworks, an online tool, across the Campaign in multiple settings and languages. A newly redesigned platform guides applicants through through their citizenship application from start to finish and connects applicants to legal help at partnering non-profits.
  • Were instrumental in inspiring the US Citizenship and Immigration Service to support the Citizenship Corners initiative.
  • Created innovative partnerships with public libraries, school districts, universities, social service agencies, and employers, all of which yield not only greater numbers of applicants but also greater awareness of the naturalization process.
  • Deployed a large-scale volunteer recruitment program through an e-learning course.

    Reached diverse communities. Local partners consistently outreach and provide culturally competent and language-appropriate services.
Learn more from our
Impact Report.

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Who We're Helping

People come to America from all over the world with dreams of achieving a better life for themselves and their families and calling this great nation home. Eight million people who live, work, and pay taxes in this country are eligible for citizenship, yet only about eight percent of them naturalize each year. Find out more about these individuals and the barriers they face.Read More