Immigrant Females Are More Likely Than Males to Come to the United States Through the Family-Based Immigration System

  • Data from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) indicate that female immigrants are more likely than male immigrants to come to the United States through the family-based class of admissions, rather than through employment .

o In Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, 106,458 females obtained legal permanent resident (LPR) status under family-based “preference” categories, compared to 95,554 males. Likewise, 287,926 females obtained LPR status because they were an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, compared to only 190,839 men. 4 o In contrast, 73,312 men obtained LPR status under employment-based categories,compared to 70,684 women. 5 Figure 3: Foreign-Born Females Who Obtained LPR Status by Class of Admission, FY 2012

Immigrant Females from Vietnam and the Philippines Have Particularly High Naturalization Rates

  • Nearly half (48.4 percent) of female immigrants were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2012, compared to 43 percent of male immigrants.
  • Three-fourths (74.9 percent) of female Vietnamese immigrants were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2012, as were two-thirds (66.2 percent) of female immigrants from the Philippines. Among female immigrants from Cuba, the naturalization rate was 60.5 percent, among those from China it was 58.8 percent, and for Dominicans it was 52.7 percent.
  • According to interviews conducted by New America Media, 84 percent of the immigrant women interviewed expressed interest in becoming a citizen of the United States.6

o The main reasons given for wanting to become an American citizen were “to make sure I’m never separated from my children” (24 percent), to be able to vote (21 percent), and to be able to live in the United States for the rest of their lives (16 percent). 7

  • Immigrant women were more likely to be naturalized U.S. citizens than immigrant men for nine out of the top 10 countries of origin .

Figure 4: Male and Female Naturalization Rates by Select Countries of Origin, 2012