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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.
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.
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.
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).
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 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.
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.
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.
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. 
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Last Reviewed/Updated:
10/14/2021
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