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Pew Hispanic Center: Latin America top region of origin for naturalized citizens

Posted by Elena del Valle on June 5, 2007


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According to a Pew Hispanic Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau’s March Supplement to the Current Population Survey and data from the federal Office of Immigration Statistics, the percentage of foreign born residents who became naturalized U.S. citizens increased significantly over the last 25 years. Their analysis indicates that while most naturalized citizens used to be from Europe; by 2005 there were 4.4 million naturalized citizens from Latin America. Latin America with just over one third of all naturalized citizens was the top region of origin for foreign born citizens.

At the same time, of the 8.5 million foreign born residents eligible for naturalization in 2005, 3 million were Mexican. From 1995 to 2005 the percent of Mexicans who became naturalized increased 144 percent, representing the highest increase from any country of origin.

The Center’s report indicates that in 2005 the United States had the highest historical number of naturalized citizens, 12.8 million. From the 1970s to the middle of the 1990s the average number of naturalizations jumped from 150,000 to 650,000. They believe the increase signifies a greater likelihood that eligible residents will choose to naturalize.

The number of unauthorized immigrants showed a conspicuous spike between 1995 and 2005. This means there were increases in the immigrant groups with the closest ties to the country, naturalized citizens, and those with the least attachment, unauthorized visitors.

The Pew Hispanic Center is a non profit initiative of the Pew Research Center. The mission of the Pew Hispanic Center is to improve understanding of the Hispanic population and chronicle their impact on the country.

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