Annual Number Of New US Citizens, 1978-2008

Annual Number Of New US Citizens, 1978-2008
These new Americans have not been participating in elections on par with their native–born counterparts. In 2008, a year of historic turnout generally and enormous interest in the election, the turnout numbers for naturalized citizens barely improved relative to previous elections.
 
Nationwide, turnout among the native born was 64.4 percent, while among naturalized Americans it was 54 percent. The disparities in certain states were particularly stark.
 
In 2006, there was a 12 point disparity in turnout, 49 percent of native born citizens versus an incredibly low 37 percent of naturalized Americans and in 2004, there was an 11 percentage point gap.
 
The significant difference in turnout rates between native–born and naturalized Americans is due, in part, to the significant disparities between the number of native–born and naturalized Americans who are registered to vote, a threshold requirement to casting a ballot in all but one state. For example, in 2004, 72.9 percent of native born Americans were registered, while only 61.2 percent of naturalized citizens were. At the time of the 2006 general election, there were 13.94 million naturalized citizens 18 years or older. Of these non-native citizens just over half (54.3 percent) were registered to vote by Election Day. Native citizens were registered at a rate of 68.6 percent during the 2006 election–a nearly 15 percentage point discrepancy. In 2008, 71.8 percent of native born Americans were registered, while just 60.5 percent of naturalized Americans were registered to vote.