In a comment, bubblebustin asked for statistics on the number of Consular Reports of Birth Abroad. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find the actual numbers, but the State Department does make Paperwork Reduction Act filings with the Office of Management & Budget giving estimates on DS-2029 (the form parents fill out to apply for a CRBA).
State started out with an estimate of 70,000 filers per year in 1975, but apparently they found this was an overestimate and quickly revised that downwards to 35,000 per year in 1980. In about two decades after that, State increased their estimate of DS-2029 filers by about 31% to 46,000 in 2002, then increased by about 50% more over the decade to 68,627 per year. In other words, it took more than three decades for the estimated number of reported births to double. Yet the doubling time for the total population of Americans abroad is far shorter than that, apparently around a decade: in 2002 State estimated that 3.2 million Americans lived abroad, while last year they said 6.3 million.
In other words, the proportion of overseas Americans requesting Consular Reports of Birth Abroad has decreased by nearly 25% in the last decade. The obvious question: is this due to a drop in birthrates, or a drop in the proportion who choose to report their babies’ births to the U.S. government?
Aside from the actual numbers, you’ll notice that the State Department has been even worse than the IRS in keeping up-to-date with their OMB filings. We’ve previously discussed the State Department’s OMB filings on DS-4079 — which is filled out by people giving up U.S. citizenship — and concluded that their estimates are not compiled with much care. Their DS-2029 numbers seem a bit better, though not by much. Unlike the renunciation figures, there’s no reason for them to be low-balling their estimates: higher numbers make them look better, and they’re quite far away from the time & cost burden threshold where any changes to the form might be deemed a “significant regulatory action”.
However, apart from the fact that State didn’t even bother filling out the “cost burden to Federal government” field correctly until 2009, there’s a bigger problem: information collections are only approved for three-year periods, but in many cases there’s four and five-year gaps between State’s extension requests. This means that their expenditures to process these forms during several years were illegal. So far I am not aware of any evidence that State Department employees have been fined a fifth of their life’s savings for these minor paperwork lapses.
|Year||Estimated respondents||Respondent burden (hours)||Cost to Federal government|
In 2002 there were an estimated 14.4 registered births for every thousand Americans abroad, and even as recently as 2008 (when State estimated that about four million resided abroad) there were 13 registered births per thousand Americans abroad. However, according to the 2012 figures there were only 10.9 registered births per thousand Americans abroad. And if the May 2013 Bureau of Consular Affairs Fact Sheet is correct in stating that there are 7.6 million Americans abroad, there might be as few as 9 registered births per thousand Americans abroad.
Back in the Homeland, the crude birth rate among U.S. residents — the number of births per thousand population — barely moved over the same period: it’s been about 14 for the entire decade. The conclusion I’d like to draw from this is that while most Americans abroad having babies in 2002 chose to register them, beginning around 2008 large proportions of parents began not to register their babies, reaching perhaps a quarter to a third of all new parents by 2012. Is this plausible? I personally think so.
The alternative theory — that the birth reporting rate is the same, and that the slow growth in CRBAs compared to the population of Americans abroad reflects a sharp decrease in the actual birth rate — does not seem so likely. This would require either that Americans abroad are having far fewer babies than Homelanders of the same age, or that the age structure of Americans abroad has shifted towards a higher proportion of people of non-child-bearing age. Hard data is sadly lacking on the latter point, but anecdotally, far more Americans who have gone abroad in the last decade are early-career young people, i.e. of child-bearing age and far more likely to end up in a relationship with a local person in their country of residence, as compared to earlier decades when Americans abroad were primarily retirees and married mid-to-late-career executives (with trailing spouses & children) on assignment.
With regards to the former point, there are far more countries today than in 1980 which can offer first-world wages & standard of living to their populations, and an even greater number of middle-income countries which used to be “hardship posts” but now have an acceptable level of educational & health infrastructure for those with the money to pay. This fact has two implications, both of which we’d expect to result in an increase rather than a decrease in the number of Americans having babies abroad. First, American couples temporarily resident abroad are today more likely to trust their local hospital rather than delaying pregnancy until their international assignment is over or flying the wife back to the U.S. during the first trimester. Second, bi-national couples at the beginning of their new lives together are more likely to choose to settle outside the U.S.; in particular, as the European Union has expanded and the provisions on freedom of movement for workers apply to an increasing number of countries, even Americans married to people from poorer countries of Europe may move, for example, to the United Kingdom.
A view from the Homeland
A New Jersey resident identified only as “Jean Public” submitted one comment on the most recent OMB filing during the 60-day period after it was announced in the Federal Register:
ds2029 must now require a picture of the claimed birth person and a fingerprint of
the claimed birth person.it is time to truly document who is being claimed as a us
there is alot of lying and fakery and bribery in this entire process.since
citizenship is worth thousands of dollars, it is clear that workers in this area can
make money for themselves by
allowing people to pay them off for fake documents.we need investigation of the
alleged 68,000 births abroad. we want birth pictures of the claimed citizen to be
attached to the file, we want indication of the race and color fo the claimed new
citizen and we want fingerprints.
it is clear there is criminality in this area of our govt.
Nothing much to say about this, except that it reflects the typical Homelander view that U.S. citizens who inexplicably choose to live outside the Greatest Country on Earth are un-American criminals who would happily sell out the U.S. and help fraudsters get U.S. citizenship. On the other hand, in the unlikely event that this woman’s conspiracy theory is true, it would suggest that my above estimate of 25% of new parents choosing not to request CRBAs for their own children is too low, because the other 75% would include many fraudulent applications filed on behalf of non-citizens hoping for their children to get U.S. citizenship by posing as the children of U.S. citizens.
What happens if you don’t register your child?
If both parents of a baby born abroad are U.S. citizens, or one parent is a U.S. citizen who fulfills the five-year residence requirement, then in theory the baby is automatically a U.S. citizen at birth under 8 USC § 1401. In practise, there are obvious barriers to the U.S. government’s ability to identify such children if they have another citizenship and do not wish to be identified, to the extent that dual citizenship is demonised as a “loophole” in FATCA.
Naturally, it is more difficult for a child born abroad to remain an “undocumented American” if both parents are U.S. citizens — a U.S. border guard who sees two parents presenting U.S. passports but their two children presenting non-U.S. passports will probably get suspicious. Similarly, it’s hard for citizens of non-Visa Waiver Program countries: visa application forms ask for biographical details on the applicants’ parents. Even if a determination is made that the children are non-citizens (for example because the American parent did not reside in the U.S. for long enough), the consular officer may well deny them tourist visas to go visit Grandma on grounds of alleged “immigrant intent” and force them to get green cards instead as the only way to get around this de facto travel ban — which also has the effect of turning them into U.S. persons for tax purposes.
Just a couple of months ago calgary411 pointed us to some very interesting comments from attorney Stephen Flott of U.S. tax and citizenship law firm Flott & Co. on this very topic:
However, I believe that “shall” in the context of subsection 7, where one of the child’s parents is not a US citizen and the child has obtained citizenship by birth or heritage of a country other than the United States, to mean that the child has the absolute right to US citizenship upon providing adequate proof of his heritage AND that his US citizen parent meets the residence requirements of the section.
However, Mr. Y’s citizenship is not “self-executing”. Someone must do something to establish his citizenship. His mother did not obtain a certificate of registration of birth abroad before Mr. Y turned 18 and cannot now do so. Mr. Y has not yet sought to assert US citizenship by obtaining proof of same which he would do by obtaining a US passport. That process would require him to present evidence of his US citizenship. He is, of course, free to do that at any time he wishes. However, until he takes some action, his US citizenship in an “inchoate right”, that is, something that he can assert and cannot be taken away from him by the US government. Clearly, he must be a “citizen” to obtain a passport. However, being “entitled” to citizenship is not the same as “being” a citizen. In other words, US citizenship in Mr. Y’s case is not self-executing.
Anyway, if the birth and registration rates among Americans abroad had remained the same from 2002 to 2012, we’d expect the State Department to project 90 to 110 thousand applications for Consular Reports of Birth Abroad in 2012; instead they estimated not even seventy thousand.
Those missing registrations — potentially as many as twenty to forty thousand per year — represent a population of Americans abroad who, though not willing to make the big jump of renunciation for themselves, either don’t consider proof of U.S. citizenship to be important enough to be bothered to fill out a 20-minute form for their children, or are actively choosing to keep their children hidden from the U.S. government in their tender age. Presumably they plan to let the children themselves make the decision whether or not to register as U.S. citizens when they are old enough to understand the restrictions it will impose on their ability to lead a normal life outside of the United States.
Along with the rising number of people giving up citizenship — an estimated eight thousand last year, based on the FBI’s report of 4,650 renunciants added to NICS — this is more evidence of a shift in attitudes among Americans abroad towards their relationship with the country from which they emigrated.
Good catch that no one else saw when we read it. How would this Amcit daughter have *earned* 40 quarters of US Social Security credits?
This analysis compares the fertility rate of USC women in Switzerland with the fertility rate for women resident in the US for ages 15 to 44 years old for 2010 to 2014:
US Women in Switzerland: 67.8 per 1,000
Women Resident in US: 62.5 (2013, 2014 not available)
US Women in Switzerland: 59.0
Women Resident in US: 62.5
US Women in Switzerland: 61.6
Women Resident in US: 63.0
US Women in Switzerland: 60.9
Women Resident in US: 63.2
US Women in Switzerland: 60.5
Women Resident in US: 64.1
Generally, for these five years, the fertility rate of USC women in Switzerland is closely tracking the US homeland rate. This would suggest that the general 13.4 birth rate per 1,000 USCs in Switzerland should hold. However, the birth rate of USC babies reported to the Swiss government is in a range of 8.0 to 8.4 per 1,000 USCs for the years 2010 to 2014, suggesting.that babies born to USC mothers are being reported to the Swiss government with another citizenship.
Also, although the consular registration rate of USC births in Switzerland is unknown, it would seem reasonable that families reporting the birth of a USC baby to the Swiss government as other than a USC would not then turnaround and report the baby to the US embassy as a USC.
Live births by sex and birth order of the children and by nationality and marital status of the mother and by age class of the parents:
Permanent and non permanent resident population by canton, sex, residence permit, age class and citizenship:
Fertility and Birth Rates:
Statistics on “disappearing Americans” in Switzerland:
US Citizen Births (12 Months, April 201x to March 201y):
Comment: Sharp decline for period April 2015 to March 2016. Likely explanation is that babies born to a US citizen are being reported to Swiss government increasingly with Swiss or other non-US nationality.
US Citizen Deaths (12 Months, April 201x to March 201y):
Comment: Increasing trend over the past five years inspite of recent decreasing US citizen population in Switzerland.
Swiss naturalizations of US citizens (12 Months, April 201x to March 201y):
a. Spiked up in 2013, then flat and then another spike for 12-month period ending March 2016. 2016 level is 44% higher than 2012.
b. Statistics are for naturalizations of US citizens residing in Switzerland only, i.e., excludes Swiss naturalizations by Americans abroad.
Population of US citizens with “non-temporary” residency in Switzerland, (12 Months, April 201x to March 201y):
a. Sharp decrease for 12-month period April 2015 to March 2016, due to naturalizations and emigration, partially offset by American births exceeding deaths.
b. Statistics include non-temporary residents (Permit types: L>12 mos., B, C).
c. US diplomats and functionaries in Switzerland, which exceed 2,000, are not included.
Source: Jahresbilanz März 201x (12 Monate): Ständige ausländische Wohnbevölkerung nach Nationalität
This is an update of an April 2015 post with 2015 statistics showing the emigration trend of non-temporary US citizens in Switzerland and the increasing levels of naturalization of US citizens in the country:
2015: -389 (i.e., emigration)
Naturalization of USCs to Swiss citizenship (by those who are permanently resident in Switzerland):
The US State Department Consular Affairs agency has published an updated fact sheet on its operations. It is most interesting to note that while the number of American citizens residing outside of the US increased 3.4% from 8.7 (FY2014) to 9.0 million (FY2015), the number of births registered abroad declined by 2.1% from 66,854 to 65,450. A possible conclusion is that Americans abroad increasingly protect their children from the US government by not registering them.
On the other hand, CA’s death statistic seems to align with the increase in US citizen population abroad:
US citizens who died abroad: 10,245 (FY2014) to 10,589 (FY2015) (+3.3%)
This statistic might have more to do with American tourists than those Americans living permanently abroad:
Emergency passports issued abroad: 41,513 (FY2014) to 49,743 (FY2015) (+19.8%)
An area that showed a decline was the number of repatriations. Possibly US citizens abroad have discovered that do-it-yourself repatriations work better and are less costly the State Department variety:
1,293 (FY2014) to 1,136 (FY2015) (-12.1%)
An update of my post on 21 October 2015 follows adding 2015 statistic of US nationality mother who gave birth in Switzerland, number of births:
Swiss statistics on birth of baby of US nationality reported to Swiss government,
See table 4-30 at year-end, spreadsheet: CH-Nati.
Percentage of babies of US mothers reported to Swiss government as American:
2015: 143/ 392 = 36.5%
2014: 159/ 396 = 40.2%
2013: 161/ 337 = 47.8%
2012: 166/ 358 = 46.4%
2011: 160/ 351 = 45.6%
2010: 152/ 331 = 45.9%
2009: 138/ 347 = 39.8%
Comment: The percentage of babies born to US nationality mothers who reported the baby as US nationality dropped to 36.5% after averaging about 45.1% for the five years 2009 to 2013. For 2009, it should be noted, the percentage was slightly below 40%.
Possible conclusion: US citizen mothers are protecting their children from the taint of US citizenship by registering them with the Swiss government with a non-US citizenship.
Also, reporting a baby to the Swiss government as having US nationality does not necessarily mean that the parents then register the baby with the US Embassy as a US citizen. On the other hand, it seems logical that the 63.5% of babies born in 2015 to US mothers who are then registered with the Swiss government as Swiss or other non-US citizenship are not being registered with the US Embassy. Possibly at best, 36.5% of the babies born to US mothers in Switzerland in 2015 are candidates for a US Consular Report of Birth Abroad.
The US State Department, Bureau of Consular Affairs has updated its fact sheet as of FY2016. Some key takeaways:
1. Americans abroad: remains at 9 million, no increase from FY2015.
2. American babies registered abroad: 70,666 is an 8.0% increase over FY2015.
3. American deaths abroad: 10,992 is a 3.8% increase over FY2015.
It seems unusual that the number of Americans residing abroad remained flat while the number of Americans born abroad increased significantly and the number of Americans who died abroad also increased.
Thanks for the info, but seems to me that the State Department rounds the overseas population to the nearest .5 million at best.
@Innocente: The 9 million figure is a complete fiction based on no ascertainable facts. The registration of births abroad is subject (for those who know their rights and opportunities) to increased abstention by dual national permanent residents abroad; there is no penalty. Registration of deaths is likely limited to anticipation of probatevorvancillary probate in a U.S. jurisdiction.
“It seems unusual that the number of Americans residing abroad remained flat while the number of Americans born abroad increased significantly and the number of Americans who died abroad also increased”
Even if no Americans abroad were born or died, the number of Americans abroad could change. For example Roger Conklin stopped living abroad.
I wonder why the number of registrations increased thoughl
I believe they were an increase from last report, which was down. Sorry too lazy to research it.
@geeze Let their NSA-IRS computer bots sniff this message. My middle finger is raised as I click “post”.
You short change yourself if you omit the CRA and RCMP bots.
Latest Paperwork Reduction Act filings for Form DS-2029 estimate 71,275 filings per year
Not much interesting in the supporting statement, except that I learned they use a cost of $0.57/mile in estimating transportation costs for the form filer … and then arbitrarily guess that a third of the filer population will travel 10 miles, a third will travel 25 miles, and a third will travel 50 miles.