Baltic states bottom of the chart for naturalization rates

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Despite a long-established naturalization process that has seen some 148,000 people acquire Latvian citizenship since 1995, in 2021 Latvia's naturalization rate was the second-lowest in the European Union, according to data published by Eurostat March 1.

In 2021, 827 000 people acquired citizenship of the EU Member State where they lived, an increase of around 14% (+98 300 people) compared with 2020.

The largest increases in acquisitions in absolute terms were recorded in France (+43 900 French citizenships granted compared with 2020), Germany (+18 800), Spain (+17 700), Sweden (+9 200) and Austria (+7 200). 

In contrast, the largest decreases were observed in Italy (-10 300 Italian citizenships granted compared with 2020), Portugal (-7 600), Greece (-3 200), Finland (-1 200) and Cyprus (-800). In total, there were 10 EU countries that recorded a decrease in the number of citizenships granted, including Latvia where 850 people from other countries acquired citizenship in 2021 compared with 1 136 in 2020.

The naturalisation rate is the ratio of the number of persons who acquired the citizenship of a country during a year over the stock of non-national residents in the same country at the beginning of the year. 

In 2021, the highest naturalisation rate among EU countries was registered in Sweden, with 10.0 citizenships granted per 100 resident non-nationals. Sweden was followed at a distance by the Netherlands (5.4), Romania (4.6), Portugal (3.7) and Belgium and Spain (both 2.7).
At the other end of the scale, the Baltic states had the lowest naturalisation rates per 100 resident non-nationals, with the smallest figures recorded in Lithuania (0.2), Latvia (0.3) and Estonia (0.5), followed by Czechia, Croatia and Slovakia (all 0.7).

Naturalization rates in EU, 2021
Naturalization rates in EU, 2021

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