California leads nation -- by far -- in naturalized citizens, data show

If you’re a naturalized citizen in the United States – a person born elsewhere who has become a legal U.S. citizen – there’s a good chance you live in California, government statistics show.

In 2017, California added more than 150,000 naturalized citizens, or nearly twice the number of the second-place state, New York.

California also led the nation in adding naturalized citizens in 2016 and 2015, again adding more than 150,000 each year, the Orange County Register reported.

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New York ranked second each of the three years, adding 86,407 naturalized citizens in 2017; 93,376 in 2016; and 90,368 in 2015, the report said, citing data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Completing the top 10 states for 2017 were Florida, Texas, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, Virginia, Maryland and Georgia. (Washington state made the top 10 in 2016.)

Nearly 40 percent of the nation’s new citizens in 2017 came from North America, while 36 percent came from Asia and 9.2 percent hailed from Europe, the data show.

Mexico supplied 17 percent of the new U.S. citizens, followed by India at 7.2 percent and China at 5.3 percent.

Citizenship has become a key topic of political debate as the nation grapples with its immigration and border security problems. The Trump administration has been seeking to add the question, “Are you a citizen of the United States,” to the U.S. Census, but has faced opposition in Congress and in court.

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Meanwhile, the newest U.S. citizens tend to score much higher on a federal government-issued civics test than do native-born Americans, the Register reported.

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Some 90 percent of people applying for U.S. citizenship pass the test, administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, while more than 40 percent of native-born Americans flunk the same test, according to Concordia University’s Center for Public Policy.

The civics test includes such questions as, “What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress?” and “How many U.S. senators are there?”

You can find the test questions and answers by clicking here.