Naturalization in the United States

Key Facts 


January 19, 2024


January 19, 2024

Access to naturalization is important for a healthy, connected, and strong community life. Becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen brings benefits to individuals and families by conferring protection from deportation, enabling greater economic security, and supporting active civic engagement in democratic activities such as voting and serving in elected office.

Of the 31.6 million immigrants who are naturalized or likely eligible to do so, 24.2 million, or 76.6 percent, have already become U.S. citizens. States with the highest naturalization rates include Florida (82.7%), West Virginia (82.1%), Vermont (81.8%), and New Jersey (81.7%). States with the lowest naturalization rates include Arkansas (65.3%), New Mexico (66.4%), Indiana (70.1%), and Kansas (70.2%).

Nationally, 7.4 million immigrants, or 33.6% of the non-citizen population, are likely eligible to naturalize but have yet to do so.

Mexican immigrants make up over 1 out of every 4 naturalization-eligible individuals, or about 2.2 million people. The other top countries of origin for eligible immigrants include India (578,700), China (424,800), El Salvador (229,400), and Cuba (216,000).

The top languages spoken among the naturalization-eligible immigrants are Spanish (43.5%), Chinese (4.0%), Filipino/Tagalog (2.4%), Hindi (2.2%), and Korean (1.9%).

Becoming a naturalized citizen creates an opportunity to deepen the feeling of belonging among immigrants by enabling them to participate more actively in the country’s community and civic affairs. In eight states, including several battleground states such as Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, the number of non-citizens likely eligible to naturalize is larger than the margin of victory in the 2020 election. Obtaining citizenship – and the right to vote – not only ensures that immigrant voices are heard in U.S. policymaking but also promotes a sense of belonging among immigrants in the United States.

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