Naturalization Statistics

The United States has a long history of welcoming immigrants from all parts of the world. During the last decade, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) welcomed more than 7.3 million naturalized citizens into the fabric of our nation.

Deciding to become a U.S. citizen is an important milestone in an immigrant’s life. Candidates for citizenship must show they are committed to the unifying principles that bind us as Americans. For that commitment, in return, they will enjoy the rights and privileges fundamental to U.S. citizenship.

Fiscal Year 2020 Naturalization Statistics1

Despite pandemic-related closures, USCIS welcomed 625,400 new citizens in fiscal year (FY) 2020 during naturalization ceremonies held across the United States and around the world.

Countries of Birth

Among the top five countries of birth for people naturalizing in FY 2020, Mexico was the lead country, with 13.3% of all naturalizations, followed by India (7.7%), the Philippines (5.3%), Cuba (5%), and the People’s Republic of China (3.7%). The top five countries of birth comprised 35% of the naturalized citizens in FY 2020.

The top five countries of birth comprised 35% of the naturalized citizens in FY 2020.

State, City, and Core-Based Statistical Area (CBSA) of Residence

When applicants for naturalization submit an Application for Naturalization (Form N-400), they list their current address on the form. Using this information, USCIS can determine the state of residence at the time a person applied for naturalization. Of all citizens naturalized in FY 2020, 71% resided in 10 states (in descending order): California, Florida, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Illinois, Georgia, and Virginia. More than 40% resided in the top three states.

The top five cities where people who naturalized resided were (in descending order): Miami; Brooklyn; Houston; the Bronx; and Las Vegas.

State, City, and Core-Based Statistical Area (CBSA) of Residence

The top five Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) where people who naturalized resided were (in descending order): New York-Newark-Jersey City (10.8%), Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach (8.2%), Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim (6.9%), Washington-Arlington-Alexandria (4.4%), and San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley (3.8%).

Age and Gender

More than 40% of citizens naturalized in FY 2020 were 30 to 44 years old. The median age of those naturalizing in FY 2020 was 41 years. About 18% were younger than 30 years, and 13 new citizens were centenarians (age 100 and older)!

Women made up more than 55% of those naturalized in FY 2020, and they were the majority in every age group. Eight of the 13 centenarians were women as well.

Median Age

Naturalization Eligibility

To be eligible for naturalization, an applicant must fulfill certain eligibility requirements set forth in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which generally include being a lawful permanent resident (LPR) for at least five years.2 There are also other special naturalization provisions that exempt certain applicants, including certain spouses of U.S. citizens and applicants with military service, from one or more of the general requirements for naturalization. Most people who naturalized in FY 2020 were eligible for naturalization based on being LPRs for at least 5 years (INA Section 316(a)), followed by applicants who were eligible based on being LPRs for at least 3 years and married to a U.S. citizen for 3 years (INA Section 319(a)) and applicants who were eligible based on their military service during a designated period of hostilities (INA Section 329).

Section of Law Section of Law Description Percent of Total
INA Section 316(a) LPR for 5 years 85.2%
INA Section 319(a) LPR for 3 years (married to U.S. citizen 3 years) 14.0%
INA Section 329 Military service during designated period of hostilities 0.6%
All other All others 0.2%

In general, a noncitizen must spend at least 5 years as a lawful permanent resident to be eligible for naturalization while a spouse of a U.S. citizen must spend at least 3 years as a lawful permanent resident3. The median years spent as an LPR for all citizens naturalized in FY 2020 was 7.1 years.

The median years spent as an LPR for all citizens naturalized in FY 2020 was 7.1 years.

The median years spent as an LPR varied by the citizens’ country of birth. The countries with the largest number of new citizens in FY 2020 and their median years spent as an LPR are shown below. Out of these top countries, applicants from Mexico spent the longest time, with 12.5 years, and applicants from Iraq spent the shortest, with 4.3 years.

Naturalization Eligibility

Class of Admission

Most people who naturalized came to the United States as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens or through family-sponsored preference categories, followed by refugees and asylees, employment-based preference categories, and the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program.

Class of Admission

Naturalization Test Initial Pass Rate

Section 312 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires that naturalization applicants demonstrate an ability to read, write, and speak words in ordinary usage in the English language and have a knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government (civics). To meet the requirements of Section 312 of the INA, applicants must pass an English test (which includes understanding, speaking, reading, and writing) and a civics test to become naturalized citizens.

The pass rate below represents the cumulative pass rate of applicants who took both the English test and the 2008 version of the civics test since October 1, 2009. It also counts those with waivers, such as an N-648, as passing.

Naturalization Test Initial Pass Rate

COVID-19 Effects on Naturalizations in FY 2020

On March 18, 2020, USCIS temporarily closed field offices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, halting most in-person operations. USCIS began the reopening process on June 4, 2020. These office closures account for the significant drop in naturalizations in March, April, and May of FY 2020.  By August 2020, USCIS was able to naturalize almost all applicants whose applications had already been approved and were awaiting an oath ceremony since office closures in March. Further, once offices reopened, USCIS adjusted its operations for naturalization applications (such as holding video interviews) to comply with social distancing guidelines. While USCIS is still experiencing limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS has been able to return to normal year production levels for naturalization applications. 

COVID-19 Effects on Naturalizations in FY 2020

The San Francisco (4.1% of all naturalizations), Dallas (3.9%), Houston (3.6%), Chicago (3.1%), and Newark (2.9%) field offices naturalized the largest number of new citizens in FY 2020.

More Naturalization Statistics

Naturalization receipts, approvals, denials, and pending applications by field office are also published quarterly on the USCIS Immigration and Citizenship Data page.

Tables

Data Table 1: Approved naturalizations for FY 2020 and top 10 countries
Country of birth FY 2020
Mexico 83,200
India 48,100
Philippines 33,300
Cuba 31,100
China 23,400
Vietnam 22,300
Dominican Republic 18,500
Jamaica 13,300
Colombia 12,700
El Salvador 12,600
All Others 326,900
Total 625,400

Source: USCIS, ELIS and C4. Data accessed March 2021.
Notes: Due to rounding, the totals may not sum.

Data Table 2: Approved naturalizations for FY 2020 and top 10 states
State of residence FY 2020
California 116,100
Florida 79,800
Texas 69,400
New York 57,600
New Jersey 22,300
Maryland 22,300
Massachusetts 20,100
Illinois 20,600
Georgia 18,900
Virginia 18,300
All Others 180,000
Total 625,400

Source: USCIS, ELIS and C4. Data accessed March 2021.
Notes: Due to rounding, the totals may not sum.

Data Table 3: Approved naturalizations for FY 2020 and top 10 cities
City of residence FY 2020
Miami 17,900
Brooklyn 13,000
Houston 10,900
Bronx 8,700
Las Vegas 7,700
Los Angeles 6,800
Hialeah 6,000
New York 5,800
Chicago 5,500
San Francisco 4,800 
All others 538,300
Total 625,400

Source: USCIS, ELIS and C4. Data accessed March 2021.
Notes: Due to rounding, the totals may not sum.

Data Table 4: Approved naturalizations for FY 2020 by top 10 CBSAs
CBSA of residence FY 2020
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 70,400
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL 53,600
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 45,000
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 28,900
San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA 24,900
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 23,000
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 22,300
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 19,200
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA 16,300
Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH 15,900
All Others 331,900
Total 651,300

Abbreviation: CBSA = Core-Based Statistical Area.
Source: USCIS, ELIS and C4. Data accessed March 2021.
Notes: Due to rounding, the totals may not sum. Some zip codes have multiple CBSAs.

Data Table 5: Approved naturalizations for FY 2020 by age and sex
Age group Sex Total
Female Male
18-24 26,500 23,600 50,100
25-29 36,500 28,000 64,500
30-34 48,200 35,900 84,100
35-39 50,900 39,200 90,100
40-44 43,100 38,100 81,200
45-49 33,400 29,500 62,900
50-54 28,700 23,400 52,200
55-59 25,600 19,800 45,400
60-64 19,300 15,200 34,500
65 and Over 34,000 24,700 58,700
Unknown - - 1,800
Total 346,200 277,400 625,400

Source: USCIS, ELIS and C4. Data accessed March 2021.
Notes: Due to rounding, the totals may not sum. There are some missing dates of birth.

Data Table 6: Approved naturalizations for FY 2020 and class of admission
Class of admission FY20
Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens 235,300
Spouses 175,200
Parents 33,400
Children 26,700
Family preferences 120,400
Refugees and asylees 99,900
Refugees 75,000
Asylees 24,900
Employment preferences 89,800
Diversity 29,600
Unknown 29,300
Other 21,100
Total 625,400

Source: USCIS, ELIS and C4. Data accessed March 2021.
Notes: Due to rounding, the totals may not sum.

FY 2020 statistics may be subject to change based on data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Immigration Statistics.

Read more information on the general eligibility requirements for naturalization on our website.

The median years spent as an LPR is based on the time between the date USCIS approved an individual’s adjustment application or when the individual entered as an LPR and the date the individual took the Oath of Allegiance. In most cases, the effective date of LPR status is the date USCIS approves the applicant’s adjustment application or the date the applicant is admitted into the United States with an immigrant visa. For certain classifications, however, the effective date of becoming an LPR may be a date that is earlier than the actual approval of the status (commonly referred to as a “rollback” date). For example, a refugee is generally considered an LPR as of the date of entry into the United States, and an asylee is generally considered an LPR 1 year before the date USCIS approves the adjustment application. Thus for asylees and refugees who adjust to LPR status, the time spent as an LPR may be shorter than the 5 year period generally required for naturalization because they are eligible to apply for naturalization 5 years from the rollback date.

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