The Economic Impact of Naturalization

Several studies show that naturalization confers economic benefits both, on the individuals who become citizens, and on our communities and nation as a whole. For instance, a study published in December 2012 (“Citizen Gain“) found that citizenship, alone, can boost individual earnings by 8 to 11 percent, leading to a potential $21-45 billion increase in cumulative earnings over ten years nationwide.

Below is a list of resources on this subject.

Immigration and Growth (motion graphic)
Source: George W. Bush Center

This motion graphic about immigration and growth, spotlighs the contributions immigrants make to our economy and our country. You can watch it below.


Source: Citizen Gain

Source: Citizen Gain (click to enlarge)

Citizen Gain (report)
Authors: Manuel Pastor and Justin Scoggins, USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration

Summary: This report finds that citizenship, alone, can boost individual earnings by 8 to 11 percent, leading to a potential $21-45 billion increase in cumulative earnings over ten years that will have ripple effects on the national economy. It includes a 3-page summary brief, and an info graphic.

Source: Migration Policy Institute

Source: Migration Policy Institute (click to enlarge)

The Economic Value of Citizenship for Immigrants in the United States (report)
Authors: Madeleine Sumption and Sarah Flamm, Migration Policy Institute

Summary: This report states that naturalized citizens earn more than their noncitizen counterparts, and are less likely to be unemployed, and are better represented in highly skilled jobs.

Latino Financial Access and Inclusion in California (report)
Summary: This report studied Latinos in California and found, among other things, that they are more engaged financially and more likely to invest if they are naturalized citizens.

Why naturalization matters to the economy (discussion panel)

Eric Cohen, Executive Director of ILRC, the lead agency of the New Americans Campaign, recently participated in a panel during an event at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, Dallas, July 10, 2013. Other panelists were  Ali Noorani (Executive Director, National Immigration Forum), Manuel Pastor (Professor, University of Southern California), and Richard Vedder (Distinguished Professor of Economics Emeritus, Ohio University).

Watch the video below:

The effects of citizenship on family income and poverty (report)
Author: Heidi Shierholz, Economic Policy Institute
This 2010 report finds that immigrant workers who are U.S. citizens earn higher wages and experience lower levels of poverty than non-citizens, and that this benefit remains even after controlling for other factors.
Source: Economic Policy Institute

Source: Economic Policy Institute

Our Impact

  • The Campaign has completed over 3,700 naturalization workshops and clinics.
  • Over 250,000 citizenship applications completed since July 2011.

    Saved aspiring citizens and their families over $206million in legal and application fees.
  • Adopted scalable technology. MP3 players, Google Voice, and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services are being used to enhance naturalization service delivery.
  • Expanded New American Workforce (an effort to provide naturalization assistance within corporations) which has partnered with over 100 businesses across the nation, ranging from hotels in Miami to American Apparel in Los Angeles.
  • Deployed Citizenshipworks, an online tool, across the Campaign in multiple settings and languages. A newly redesigned platform guides applicants through through their citizenship application from start to finish and connects applicants to legal help at partnering non-profits.
  • Were instrumental in inspiring the US Citizenship and Immigration Service to support the Citizenship Corners initiative.
  • Created innovative partnerships with public libraries, school districts, universities, social service agencies, and employers, all of which yield not only greater numbers of applicants but also greater awareness of the naturalization process.
  • Deployed a large-scale volunteer recruitment program through an e-learning course.

    Reached diverse communities. Local partners consistently outreach and provide culturally competent and language-appropriate services.
Learn more from our
Impact Report.

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Who We're Helping

People come to America from all over the world with dreams of achieving a better life for themselves and their families and calling this great nation home. Eight million people who live, work, and pay taxes in this country are eligible for citizenship, yet only about eight percent of them naturalize each year. Find out more about these individuals and the barriers they face.Read More