This interactive map presents ERI’s most recent estimates of eligible-to-naturalize adults in the United States using the 2021 5-year American Community Survey (ACS) microdata from IPUMS-USA. In this analysis, we disaggregate the eligible-to-naturalize adult population by probability of naturalizing in the next two-to-three years: low probability, medium probability, and high probability. The tool also provides a table of each population’s demographic information, including age, race, education attainment, poverty status, English speaking ability, top five places of origin, and top five languages spoken at home (other than or in addition to English).
View full chart: Selected Characteristics of Eligible to Naturalize Adults by Probability of Naturalization, United States
Tableau maps and charts developed by Sabrina Kim (Data Analyst II), Thai V. Le (Postdoctoral Fellow), and Justin Scoggins (Senior Data Manager).
Instructions on using the map
With the growing number of eligible-to-naturalize lawful permanent residents (LPRs) in the United States and more economic, political, and social pressures to integrate, naturalization is an increasingly important process for immigrants to access opportunities and resources that are privileged to U.S. citizens. These include the right to vote, access to certain government benefits programs and jobs, prioritized sponsorship of immediate family to the United States, and protection from deportation. We hope this tool will provide useful information to advocates, agencies, and civic and business leaders seeking to encourage naturalization and civic engagement.
How to Use the Map:
Please note: this map is best viewed in Google Chrome.
- The map can be displayed at three different geographies: PUMA level, State level, and Congressional district level.
- There are three measures that can be mapped by clicking on the circles above the map legend:
- “All” is the default setting and maps all eligible-to-naturalize adults
- “Low” maps all eligible-to-naturalize adults with a low probability of naturalization
- “Medium” maps all eligible-to-naturalize adults with a medium probability of naturalization
- “High” maps all eligible-to-naturalize adults with a high probability of naturalization
- The table of characteristics of the eligible-to-naturalize is displayed by hovering over an area on the map.
- When you click a selected geography, all other regions with the similar number of eligible-to-naturalize populations will also be highlighted. To deselect, click on the selected geography again.
- To reset the map, refresh your browser window.
The estimates presented in the map stem from a dataset we assembled using the 2021 5-year American Community Survey (ACS) microdata from IPUMS-USA, covering the years 2017 through 2021. We chose the 5-year ACS microdata because it contains a wide variety of individual and household characteristics and the sample size is large enough to make reasonably accurate estimates for sub-state geographies. One critical shortcoming of this dataset for our purposes, however, is that while it identifies non-citizen immigrants, it does not identify which non-citizens are documented and which are not. To determine who is eligible to naturalize, we first identify who is likely undocumented—including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders—and assume that the remainder have lawful status as either LPRs, student visa holders, or H1B visa holders. Our estimation is based on a combination of logical assumptions and a statistical model developed using the 2014 SIPP that was applied to the ACS microdata. For those interested in the details of our methodology, please refer to this document. With identifiers in place for who is likely an LPR among non-citizens in the ACS microdata, we applied some basic conditions to determine who are likely to be eligible-to-naturalize adults. We include all persons at least 18 years old and who have been in the U.S. for at least five years prior to the survey (or three years if married to a U.S. citizen).
We then compare eligible-to-naturalize adults to immigrants who had recently naturalized (as adults), so we could examine which individual characteristics and other factors are most strongly associated with adult naturalization. Through this method, we can estimate the probability of naturalization for each eligible-to-naturalize adult in the dataset. We focus on the recently naturalized – those naturalizing two to three years prior to the survey – to guard against reverse causality and so that the effects of different characteristics and the probabilities of naturalization we estimate are relevant to the contemporary social, economic, and political climate. We estimate probabilities of naturalization using a statistical model (a binomial logistic regression) that predicts the likelihood of naturalizing in the next two to three years based on a variety of demographic, economic, family, and country-of-origin characteristics that have been found to be important in deciding to naturalize and naturalizing successfully, either theoretically or empirically.
We then place eligible-to-naturalize adults into three categories by their estimated probabilities of naturalization (low, middle, and high), using the mean and standard deviation of the estimated probabilities to draw the lines between each group. We then aggregate the data to the geographic levels shown in the maps: PUMAs (2010 PUMAs), congressional districts (118th Congress), and states. It should be noted that we only estimate probabilities of naturalization for eligible-to-naturalize adults living in households (not group quarters) because household variables (e.g., household income and tenure) were used to estimate the probabilities. For more details on the methodology, please refer to the research brief that informs these maps.
To avoid reporting highly unreliable estimates, we do not report any data for geographies with fewer than 50 non-citizen adult survey respondents in the ACS microdata (unweighted). We also do not report detailed demographic data on the characteristics of eligible-to-naturalize adults (just the basic breakdown by low, middle, and high probability of naturalization) if based on fewer than 30 unweighted survey respondents (overall or for any particular probability group); when the number is between 30 and 99, we include an asterisk and cautionary note around data reliability.
The USC Equity Research Institute (ERI) would like to thank the Carnegie Corporation of New York, The California Endowment, the James Irvine Foundation, the California Wellness Foundation, and Bank of America for providing funding to enable us to carry out the initial research. We would like to additionally thank the Houston Endowment for funding the updated analysis and maps using the most recent data available.
We also thank ERI staff and graduate student researchers who helped produce the research brief. Gladys Malibiran and Debora Gotta handled communications/promotions/social media and media relations related to the release (including getting everything on our website); Sabrina Kim developed the initial maps in Tableau Public, the related infographics, and designed the brief; Vanessa Carter edited and coordinated the writing process; Cynthia Moreno helped with writing and editing; Stina Rosenquist, Joanna Lee, and Sarah Letson (of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center) assisted with the case studies; and Rhonda Ortiz helped with overall project coordination and advice. We also thank Angelica Peña, Nasim Khansari, and Christine Chen from Asian Americans Advancing Justice Los Angeles, Pablo Blank from CASA, and Connie Cheng and Sandra Sandoval from Citizenshipworks for their contributions to the case studies.