According to the Department of Homeland Security, the total number of immigrants who became U.S. citizens in 2009 was 743,715. This represents a significant drop from 2008 figures.
As a green card and citizenship attorney, I suspect a significant reason for this drop is due to increasingly restrictive immigration laws aimed at lawful permanent residents. As the pool of LPRs decreases, so too does the list of immigrants living here who are eligible to file citizenship applications.
Obtaining citizenship is not an easy process. Generally, naturalization requirements mandate that an immigrant must be at least 18 years old, have been granted lawful permanent residence in the United States, and have resided in the U.S. continuously for five years. Additional requirments include the ability to speak, read, and write the English language, knowledge of U.S. government and history, and good moral character.
There are some exemptions for various requirements, some necessitating quite a bit of supporting evidence.
In brief, here are key statistics from the 2009 DHS Annual Report on Naturalizations.
New Citizens By Country Of Birth
Viewing the newly naturalized U.S. citizens by their county of origin, the DHS study demonstrates 50% come from 10 countries. The other 50% are spread out among all other countries of the world.
When the data is broken into regions, it shows 37% of immigrants naturalizing in 2009 were born in Asia, followed by 34% from North America and 12% from Europe.
Between 2008 and 2009 , the number of naturalized citizens from all regions, except Africa, decreased. Overall, the total number of immigrants earning citizenship fell from 1,046,539 in 2008 to 743, 715 in 2009.
- 1. Mexico
- 2. India
- 3. Philippines
- 4. China
- 5. Vietnam
- 6. Cuba
- 7. Dominican Republic
- 8. El Salvador
- 9. South Korea
- 10. Colombia
New Citizens By Age
- 35 to 44 years old (29.0%)
- 25 to 34 years old (25.3%)
- 45 to 54 years old (18.0%)
- 55 to 64 years old (11.7%)
- 18 to 24 years old (8.2%)
- 65 years and older (7.8%)
New Citizens By Gender
- Female (52.7%)
- Male (47.3%)
New Citizens By Marital Status
- Married (66.9%)
- Single (19.8%)
- Other/Unknown (13.3%)
New Citizens By Area Of Residence
74% of all persons naturalizing in 2009 resided in the top ten states. California was first (24%), followed by New York (12%) and Florida (11%).
54.3% of new citizens live in just 10 metropolitan areas of the United States. The remainder, 45.7%, live in various places throughout the country.
As a Riverside immigration attorney, I’m slightly surprised the Inland Empire area is now the seventh largest metropolitan area for naturalized citizens to choose as their place of residence.
- New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NY-PA (15.2%)
- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA (11.3%)
- Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL (7.3%)
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV (4.4%)
- Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI (3.6%)
- San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA (2.8%)
- Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA (2.6%)
- Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX (2.5%)
- Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH, GA (2.3%)
- Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX (2.3%)
By Carlos Batara, Immigration Law, Policy, And Politics