Naturalized Citizens Earn Almost 70 Percent More Than Noncitizens

Immigrants who become naturalized U.S. citizens in the U.S. earn 50 to 70 percent more than noncitizens in the U.S. and are less likely to be unemployed, according to a new report from the Migration Policy Institute. Despite the benefits, MPI estimates that eight million immigrants in the U.S. who are eligible to apply for citizenship have not, and naturalization rates in the U.S. are lower than most other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations, mostly due to the high cost to apply. The higher education levels and better language skills of naturalized citizens account for most of the wage gap, but even considering those factors, immigrants who become citizens have a 5 percent wage premium and saw a smaller decline in their incomes during the recession: