passport ownership by state

Have you ever heard the statistic that only 10% of Americans have a passport?

The 10% figure is not accurate but it is is based in fact. As per this BBC News story along with other reputable sources, until the mid-2000s only about 20% of Americans were believed to have passports. However, this vastly increased once the law changed requiring passports for US citizens travelling to Canada/Mexico.

From the government’s records at, C.G.P Grey compiled the actual number of passport ownership by state throughout the entire United States. His findings suggest that over 45% of Americans have passports with residents of New Jersey having the highest percentage at 68%.

Mississippi is clearly black on the map, and the others less so. The statistics in the link through article show that Louisiana is actually far from the lowest:

ALABAMA 25.03%

The state with the lowest percentage of passports? Mississippi.

If it weren’t for the post- September 11 requirement that one travel to Canada and Mexico on a passport, it would no doubt be an even smaller proportion. (Hence the high number of passports in states with large Latino populations).

But take Latinos out of the equation, and which states are cosmopolitan is pretty clear.

Lack of experience with the world seems to track pretty closely with strong opinions about how to deal with the rest of the world.

It also tracks with socially reactionary views.

A comment:

Who really cared if Americans did not have passports?

Europeans really had a hard time understanding the concept of being able to drive a continent with just a driver’s license (Canada through Mexico).

In Europe, you used to have to present your passport every couple of hours. You also usually have to give it to check into a hotel. It was also usually the only picture id, as DL did not have photos for many years.

I was confronted with this statistic many times over the years by my husband’s relatives and I always pointed out the obvious to them. It was always fun to watch the light bulb go on in their head.

If you look at the graphic now, you will see that the most passports seem to be in the states that have the most immediate and easy access to Europe and or Asia. The Canadian and Mexican border states seem to be catching up, except you still can get away without the passport if you get the enhanced DL. How about adding in the enhanced DL as part of the statistic, since it gives access to certain foreign countries.

It has always bothered me when I read some apologist bemoaning the lack of passports in the US.


About arnulfo

veterano del ciberespacio
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