CaribWorldNews, WASHINGTON, D.C., Fri. April 23, 2010: Fewer Caribbean nationals became naturalized citizens of the United States last year compared to 2008, a CaribWorldNews analysis of latest Department of Homeland statistics reveal.
Overall, some 84,917 nationals from the Caribbean took the oath of citizenship of the United States in 2009 compared to 131, 935 in 2008.
The trend reflected part of the overall downward spiral in naturalizations that occurred last year with the number of persons naturalizing in the United States declining to 743,715 in 2009 from 1,046,539 in 2008. The only group showing an increase from 2008 to 2009 was immigrants from African countries.
However, in the past three years, the Caribbean region has registered a whopping 285,429 new voters in the U.S. based on the number of new naturalizations.
From the Caribbean region last year, Cubans topped the list of naturalization from the region with 24,891 in 2009, down from 39,871 in 2008. They were followed by the Dominican Republic with 20,778 and Jamaica with 15,098.
In 2009, 13,290 Haitians became new U.S. citizens compared to 21,229 in 2008. Guyana followed far behind with 6,840 while from Trinidad and Tobago there were 5,726 opting to become U.S. citizens.
Other Caribbean nations saw smaller portions of new U.S. citizens. Anguilla recorded just 29 last year while there were 37 from Aruba and 456 from Antigua and Barbuda.
Five hundred and sixty nine nationals of the Bahamas because U.S. citizens last year while 878 from Barbados took the oath. Belize migrants becoming U.S. citizens last year totaled 854 while there were 80 from Bermuda and 43 from fellow British dependent territory, the BVI.
Twenty-two nationals of the Cayman Islands became new U.S. citizens last year while some 672 from Dominica took the oath.
Six hundred and eighty three Grenadians became naturalized U.S. citizens in 2009 while just 34 from Guadeloupe, 22 from Martinique and 8 from French Guiana took the oath.
From Montserrat, there were 59 while 40 from the Netherland Antilles became citizens of the United States. British dependent territory, Turks and Caicos registered 21 while there were 198 from Suriname.
Five hundred and eight three St. Lucians became citizens of the U.S. in 2009 while there were 513 from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and 389 from St. Kitts and Nevis.
However, the number of applications for naturalization, which declined from 2007 to 2008, edged upward to 570,000 in 2009 while the number of naturalization applications pending a decision decreased to 230,000 by the end of 2009.
Meanwhile, in 2009, women accounted for 53 percent of all persons naturalizing while more than one-half (54 percent) of new citizens were ages 25 to 44 years. The median age of all persons naturalizing was 40 years. Persons 65 years and over accounted for nearly 8 percent of naturalizations in 2009 while two-thirds (67 percent) of persons naturalizing in 2009 were married and 20 percent were single.
California was home to the largest percentage of persons naturalizing w2ith 24 percent, followed by New York with 12 percent and Florida with 11 percent. Fifty-four percent of all new citizens in 2009 lived in 10 metropolitan areas.
The leading metropolitan areas of residence were New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA with 15 percent, Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA with 11 percent), and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL with 7.3 percent.
Thirty-seven percent of persons naturalizing in 2009 were born in Asia, followed by 34 percent from North America, and 12 percent from Europe. Mexico was the leading country of birth of persons naturalizing in 2009 with 15 percent.
The next leading countries of origin of new citizens in 2009 were India with 7.1 percent, the Philippines with 5.2 percent, the People`s Republic of China with 5.0 percent and Vietnam with 4.2 percent.
The 10 countries with the largest number of naturalizations accounted for 50 percent of all new citizens in 2009.