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Naturalization of U.S. Immigrants: Highlights from Ten Countries

Publication Abstract

Woodrow-Lafield, Karen A., Xiaohe Xu, Thomas Kersen, and Bunnak Poch. 2004. "Naturalization of U.S. Immigrants: Highlights from Ten Countries." Population Research and Policy Review, 23(3): 187-218.

The saga of U.S. immigrant naturalization is merely sketched for about 25 million immigrants entered in three decades of renewed immigration. This study documents naturalization outcomes for immigrants from ten major countries of origin, using administrative records on immigrants and naturalizations. Following the 1978–1987 admission cohorts for the first decade or more of permanent residence, this study finds significant covariate effects on the timing of naturalization by origin, mode of entry, and immigrant visa class, net other influences of demographic and background characteristics. Immigrants from the Philippines, Vietnam, and China naturalized more quickly than immigrants from India, Korea, Cuba, Colombia, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico. Those who adjusted from statuses as nonimmigrants, refugees, or asylees became naturalized citizens more quickly. Those immigrants with employment sponsorship naturalized faster than family-sponsored immigrants. Spouses of citizens, spouses of permanent residents, spouses of siblings of citizens, and spouses of sons and daughters of citizens naturalized faster than some other immigrants. Gender was not significant in the multivariate analysis, but further research will more fully explore sex-specific variation in the timing of naturalization given likely variation in women's representation by origin and admission categories.

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