Header Image

Campaign Updates

Cities Supporting Citizenship In Record Numbers, New Report Shows

Data shows positive economic impact of naturalization amid national effort to advance citizenship


NEW YORK – A new report shows surging interest in citizenship across the country and demonstrates how naturalization can benefit cities, as a national campaign seeks to accelerate the pace of citizenship applications over the coming year.

The report, from the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), Citi Community Development, and Cities for Citizenship (C4C) looks at the impact of the Cities for Citizenship program, which helps cities invest in programs designed to encourage citizenship and let green card holders overcome hurdles to naturalization. The C4C program contributed to the national uptick in naturalization applications in 2016, which saw a record 970,000 applications for citizenship - a 24 percent increase over 2015.

The number of cities joining the program has also skyrocketed, with 18 new city and county partners since the start of 2016, nearly doubling the total number of cities involved. C4C’s network of municipal partners grew by 46 percent in just the first six months of 2017. New cities joining since the start of 2016 include: Anchorage, AK; Cleveland, OH; Dayton, OH; Detroit, OH; Houston, TX; Knoxville, TN; Long Beach, CA; Louisville, KY; Kansas City, KS; Madison, WI; Miami City, FL; Montgomery County, MD; Paterson, NJ; Salt Lake County, UT; Suffolk County, NY; and Tucson, AZ.

The Cities for Citizenship program now spans 38 cities across the country. The new additions include Mayors from small towns and states deep in the heartland, underlining that citizenship is an issue that bridges the partisan gap.

Founded in 2014, Cities for Citizenship (C4C) is a major national initiative, with municipal partners in 37 cities and counties. C4C is chaired by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, with support from the Center for Popular Democracy and the National Partnership for New Americans. Citi Community Development is the Founding Corporate Partner.

“It’s no surprise that Mayors in every corner of the country are supporting naturalization. Helping immigrants access citizenship opens up a world of benefits, from higher employment rates to higher tax revenues,” said Andrew Friedman, Co-Executive Director of the Center for Popular Democracy. “Promoting citizenship can inject a boost into local economies, and we are committed to help even more Mayors pursue the promise of citizenship.”

“We are very pleased that naturalization application numbers are continuing to increase by fifteen percent in 2017,” said Emily Gelbaum, Director of Programs for the National Partnership for New Americans. “Mayors are working with immigrant organizations and have already organized over 160 citizenship events as a part of our ‘Naturalize NOW!’ campaign this summer.” 

Citizenship offers a wealth of advantages for local economies. Supporting immigrants in the process of naturalization contributes to the financial security of immigrant families, helping localities as a result. After naturalizing, individual earnings increase by an average of eight percent (or $3,200) and rates of employment and homeownership go up. Those individual earnings translate into sizable federal, state, and city tax revenue that cities can then put to good use for public programs and services. Research has found that naturalizing all eligible individuals in twenty-one major metropolitan areas would bring a projected $2 billion in annual revenue.

C4C is also participating in the Naturalize NOW! Campaign, which aims to boost naturalization rates and secure another million citizenship applications in 2017. Mayors from Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Cleveland, OH; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Dayton, OH; Jersey City, NJ; Knoxville, TN; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; Miami Dade County, FL; Montgomery County, MD; Paterson, NJ; Pittsburgh, PA; New York City, NY; Salt Lake County, UT; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, CA; South Gate, CA & Tucson, AZ have joined the Naturalize NOW! effort, and the campaign has organized 164 events throughout the summer. You can see all partners and events at www.naturalizenow.us.



Media Contact: 

Asya Pikovsky, apikovsky@populardemocracy.org, 207-522-2442