Divergent Trends in Citizenship Rates Among Immigrants in Canada and the United States

Statistics Canada Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series No. 338

37 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2012

See all articles by Garnett Picot

Garnett Picot

Statistics Canada

Feng Hou

Statistics Canada

Date Written: October 12, 2011

Abstract

This paper addresses two issues. First: among immigrants, is there a labour market benefit associated with becoming a citizen of the host country, in this case Canada or the United States? Recent international research indicates that there is an economic return to acquiring citizenship. Second: a significant gap in the citizenship rate has opened up between Canada and the United States. In 1970, about two-thirds of immigrants in Canada or the United States were citizens. Citizenship rates then fell in the United States and rose in Canada; by 2006, the citizenship rate was 33 percentage points higher in Canada than in the United States. Do differences between the two countries in individual and source region characteristics of immigrants account for this widening citizenship rate gap? This study finds that, through the 1970s, when the gap widened most, changes in the characteristics of immigrants to Canada and the United States accounted for 63% to 68% of the increase. Through the 1980s, changes in immigrant characteristics accounted for about 50% of the increase. Over the 1990-to-2006 period, the citizenship rate changed little in the United States, and the continued rise in Canada was again related mostly to changes in immigrant composition.

Keywords: citizenship, employment, immigrants, labour market

JEL Classification: J15, J61, J21, M51, E24, F16

Suggested Citation

Picot, Garnett and Hou, Feng, Divergent Trends in Citizenship Rates Among Immigrants in Canada and the United States (October 12, 2011). Statistics Canada Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series No. 338, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2012582 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2012582

Garnett Picot

Statistics Canada ( email )

Ottawa, Ontario
Canada
613-951-8214 (Phone)
613-951-5403 (Fax)

Feng Hou (Contact Author)

Statistics Canada ( email )

Ottawa, Ontario
Canada

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