The Economic Value of Citizenship for Immigrants in the United States

The Economic Value of Citizenship for Immigrants in the United States

Immigrants who obtain U.S. citizenship earn more than those who don't, are better represented in jobs requiring higher-level skills, and are less likely to be unemployed, a report from the Migration Policy Institute finds. According to The Economic Value of Citizenship for Immigrants in the United States (24 pages, PDF), while immigrants who become naturalized citizens tend to be highly educated, speak English well, and have worked in the United States for a long time, there is evidence of a "citizenship premium" — especially for Latino immigrants and women — even after accounting for differences in education, language skills, and work experience. Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the report notes that far fewer immigrants seek citizenship than are eligible to do so, and that possible barriers include the application fee of $680, which is higher than in most other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries.