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True or False: It's easier to win the lottery than get U.S. citizenship

Lottery Ticket

True or False: It's easier to win the lottery than get U.S. citizenship

By Carolyn Hauck on November 10, 2015

Are you more likely to win the lottery than obtain U.S. citizenship? Can you guess? Below are the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) numbers on how many people were granted citizenship for the last 14 years:

 

Total Naturalized Citizens: Fiscal Years 2001-2014

2014

654,949

2013

777,416

2012

762,742

2011

690,705

2010

619,075

2009

741,982

2008

1,050,399

2007

659,233

2006

702,663

2005

600,366

2004

536,176

2003

456,063

2002

589,727

2001

613,161

http://www.uscis.gov/archive/archive-news/naturalization-fact-sheet

The USCIS gets roughly double to triple the amount of applicants each year than it has spots for, which makes the odds of citizenship sound really good: 1/2 or 1/3.

Now for your chances of winning the lottery: According to about.com, your chance of getting struck by lightning is 4x greater than your chances of winning the lottery. The  odds for winning the lottery look something like: 1 and 175 million.

So technically speaking, the final verdict is False: You are not more likely to win the lottery than obtain citizenship. However,  in many cases, the final verdict might feel True. Every immigration case is unique, and many of them hit stumbling blocks that can last for months, or even years. Well-publicized articles in 2013 highlighted the issue, with one Senator stating that it takes, on average, 25 years to become a U.S. citizen, and as of 2013 there was a 4.4 million applicant backlog. Last we checked, it only took $1 and a dream to win the lottery.

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