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Citizenship Acquisition in the United States of America Ather H. Akbari (Saint Marys University & Atlantic Metropolis Centre)

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Presentation on theme: "Citizenship Acquisition in the United States of America Ather H. Akbari (Saint Marys University & Atlantic Metropolis Centre)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Citizenship Acquisition in the United States of America Ather H. Akbari (Saint Marys University & Atlantic Metropolis Centre)

2 Objectives of the study To investigate: –The effect of some socio-economic factors on the likelihood of naturalization in the United States. –The impact of naturalization on the economic performance of an individual.

3 Some stylized facts The United States has been a popular immigrant destination for a long time. According to the United Nations estimates, around 140 million people, or 2 percent of the worlds population, now reside in a country where they were not born. Two-third of these people live in Australia, Canada, and most live in the United States. Over the period 1990-2005, the percentage of foreign-born in the countrys total population rose from 7.9 percent to 12.1 percent. The large immigration program, and the increasing number of its foreign- born population are indications that the United States also appreciates the contribution immigrants make to its economic and social fabric.

4 Some stylized facts (contd.) The citizenship requirements are clear indication that the allegiance of a foreign-born to the host country is viewed separate from his / her contribution to economic and social fabric. These requirements include, residency and physical presence, good moral character, attachment to the constitution, language, good knowledge of the United States government and history and oath of allegiance.

5 Some stylized facts (Contd.) U.S. citizenship also provides certain privileges: – A citizen can vote, can get elected to the public office, can serve in a popular jury, can enjoy government protection while traveling abroad, can bring family members to the U.S., obtain certain government benefits that are not available to non-citizens and can also meet tax requirements that are different from non- citizens.



8 Methodology and data used Estimate a logistic regression to assess the impact of various demographic and economic characteristics on the probability of citizenship acquisition. Estimate a human capital earnings function for naturalized citizens and noncitizens. Data from the 2000 U.S. census are used. Separate analyses for developed and developing country immigrants.

9 Sample characteristics Compared to a non-citizen, an average naturalized citizen in either group is: –4 years older –More likely to be married –Has fewer children (aged 15 and younger)

10 Sample characteristics (contd.) Compared to a developed country immigrant, a developing country immigrant: –Acquires citizenship sooner –Is more likely to work in professional and managerial occupations –Is more likely to have a university degree –Works more weeks –Earns 50 percent more –Is more likely to own a house Occupational status, educational attainment and earnings do not vary by citizenship status for developed country immigrants while home ownership does.

11 Some factors determining the likelihood of naturalization of an individual Age, years since migration, gender, marital status, presence of children under 15, university degree, professional occupation, home ownership, log earnings, ratio of source country GDP per capita to that in the U.S.

12 Results: Probability of naturalization All included variables do a good job of predicting the likelihood naturalization. Similar odds for individuals with identical post- schooling experience. No effect of income on either group. All others have greater impacts on odds for developing country immigrants, the largest effect being that of homeownership.

13 Results: Earnings model Citizenship acquisition does not have a statistically significant effect on the log of annual wages of developed country immigrants. Larger and statistically significant effect of citizenship acquisition on the log of annual wages is found in case of immigrants arriving from developing countries. In both samples, the results do not vary by gender.

14 Results (Contd.) While professional immigrants from developing countries enjoy greater returns to their occupations, those who acquire citizenship enjoy lower returns. The above could reflect the issue of foreign credential recognition since most have spent lesser time in the country. Finally, citizenship acquisition benefits developing country immigrants more by raising the market rewards for their human capital investment.

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