Naturalization trends

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has come out with a report highlighting some recent trends in naturalization:

  • On average, 723,000 individuals naturalized annually in the United States during the last 20 years. In FY2022, nearly 1 million individuals naturalized, the highest number since FY2008. Naturalizations were relatively low during FY2020 in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic—USCIS suspended in-person services at its field offices from March-June 2020. In addition, some naturalization applications were delayed because applicants’ immigration records were held in Federal Records Centers operating with reduced staffing during the pandemic.
  • In recent years, USCIS has come under scrutiny for its large backlogs of pending applications and long processing times, including for naturalization applications. At the end of FY2020, the number of pending Forms N-400 reached 943,000.
  • In 2022, USCIS announced new efforts to reduce processing times, with a goal to process Forms N-400 within 6 months. The median processing time for the N-400 decreased from 11.5 months in FY2021 to 6.9 months in the first quarter of FY2023. The number of pending N-400 applications declined by 42% from the end of FY2020 (943,000) to the end of FY2022 (550,000).
  • From FY2012-FY2021, the largest proportion of individuals who naturalized were from Asia and North America (including Mexico and Central America), each representing more than one-third of those naturalized (Figure 3). Individuals born in Europe and Africa each represented approximately 10%, followed by South America (9%) and Oceania (1%). The top 10 countries of origin for naturalizations during that period were Mexico, India, the Philippines, China, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Colombia, El Salvador, and Jamaica, cumulatively representing about half of all naturalizations.
  • DHS’s Office of Immigration Statistics estimates that as of January 2022, 9.2 million LPRs were eligible to naturalize, based on meeting age and residency requirements, representing approximately 72% of the 12.9 million LPRs residing in the United States. Nearly half of those eligible to naturalize were from North America, with more than a quarter from Mexico.

The full report is here: