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Report · September 1999

Taking the Oath: An Analysis of Naturalization in California and the United States

Elisa Barbour, Hans Johnson, Belinda Reyes, and Laura Mameesh

California has the largest noncitizen population in the nation (over 6 million people) and a lower naturalization rate than every other state but Texas. This report seeks to better understand the naturalization behavior of immigrants in California by comparing patterns and trends in the state with those in the rest of the nation. It addresses the following specific questions:

  • How has the propensity to naturalize changed over time?
  • What factors are associated with naturalization?
  • Do California immigrants have a different propensity to naturalize? If so, why?
  • How and why do naturalization rates vary across California counties?
  • What role have California state and local government played in encouraging naturalization?