30% of Americans have passports. But where do those Americans live?

New Jersey takes the prize for the highest percentage of passports issued: 68.36%. At the low end: Mississippi, with just 19.86%.

Via C.G.P. Grey, see the graphic below:

passports by state Which Americans have passports, and which Americans dont?

For the “yes, but…” file: This dataset actually reflects addresses for issuance, not ownership of US passports. That’s because it’s based on addresses at the time of application, so if you got your passport when you live in Los Angeles and then move to St. Louis, you’re in the California stats, not the Missouri stats.

Also, since it’s based on US passports, it doesn’t take into account the sizable non-citizen resident population. So, for example, green card holders aren’t included.

But while these data aren’t perfect, they probably capture the majority of reality.

Data junkie? Hit the raw data directly from the US government, or view the data in Google Apps spreadsheet form, as organized by blogger C.G.P. Grey.

Thanks, Ben!

pixel Which Americans have passports, and which Americans dont?
Categorized in: travel

94 Responses to “Which Americans have passports, and which Americans don’t?”

  1. Just wondering Says:

    Is it just me, or does this look rather like the electoral map?

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  3. tripgirl6 Says:

    what percentage of those who has passports actually get around to using them?

  4. Kielfergen Says:

    I could not have been less surprised. The world’s most powerful countries in terms of influence on the world and less than 30% of the population has traveled out of the country. It’s scary reading if you are not American.

  5. bassclef Says:

    Seems that all but a few states have issuance rates >30% and some of the most populous are >60%. Do you have a source for the 30% overall ownership? It doesn’t add up.

  6. Silver Creek City Resort Says:

    not all American travel abroad much

  7. Webb Says:

    Thanks for providing — these are great stats. Interesting that this looks pretty similar to the income per capita map. With the exception that the midwest states make a decent living, but aren’t as likely to travel as their counterpart on the coast.


  8. RJP Says:

    It looks like the most populous states — California, New York, Texas, Illinois — all have rates above 40% or even 60%. So how does the entire country average only 30%? All the states less than 30% are deserted.

  9. Kay Says:

    Ok how many people have passports that aren’t expired? lol That would make me feel better about not having a passport.

  10. RJP Says:

    Kielfergen, if you live in the world’s most powerful country, why would you feel the need to travel abroad? After all, like ancient China and Rome, the world comes to you.

  11. scott lehmann Says:

    This is very interesting, but not all that surprising. States with higher unemployment, lower median income, etc would most likely travel less outside of the U.S. therefore no real need for a Passport. The more populous, higher median income, lower unemployed would most likely travel more. It’s a shame more American’s don’t travel abroad more often, by comparison we are a very young country and do not have the depth of culture and history behind us, just yet. Americans could learn so much from traveling abroad and I believe it would make us less superior acting if we were to learn more about the history of the world and other countries.

  12. Shane Says:

    Props to my home DC for a 318% passport rate! Obivouly a lot of passports issued to temporary residents.

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  14. Ann Walton Says:

    I do not find it surprising at all that Mississippi is the lowest out of all of the states with passports. Alaska, California and New York, those are all pretty obvious candidates for higher percentages, especially since many people travel through those areas frequently because they are hubs for a lot of international travel.

  15. Demo Says:

    What’s up with DC? 318%? makes me think that these are number processed, which if you go to DC to get a last minute passport means that they include you in that number.

  16. Nonoy Says:

    Very informative and unique information here. Guess it’s time for Americans to travel more overseas, like Cebu, Philippines.:-)

  17. chan Says:

    agree with Kielfergen, scaring facr for a world power….

  18. ross Says:

    It also has to do with the density of immigrants. New and first generation Americans tend to travel on a regular basis. It is not surprising that highly urbanized areas have higher number of issued passports.

  19. Peter Says:

    That’s very few Americans with passports. Its amazing though that even with very few people with passports, America has one of the highest exports of tourists to the world. Bizarre!

  20. Nationwide AutoTransport Says:

    I was wondering if this has anything to do with military families/ residents. If you live overseas and your passport expires, I THINK it is issued in New Jersey or New York, or if your ‘home of record’ is used, meaning where you claim as home when not living on a military base. I was born overseas since my family was stationed there and my social security number is issued from New York. Interesting. I suppose people who don’t travel much don’t think to get a passport.

  21. Holiday Homes Says:

    While 30% does sound low I wonder how many of these people actually use their passports? I think at least half of them have yet to leave the country.

  22. Astral Travel Says:

    America, the greatest superpower in the year of 2011, yet 70% of its population don’t have passports? sounds like a mistake.

  23. Swiss Affordable Holidays Says:

    well i have one answer as to why so many americans dont have passports, america is so big that people living there first want to explore their own country and for exploring your own country you do not need a passport, just a ticket and a bag so they dont need a passport unless they travel abroad, kids grow up and move to different states and can enjoy a completely different life from their home state in a new environment, i guess that justifies it!!

  24. Dream Travel Vacation Says:

    Interesting post. I see that I am one of the 60% CA residents who have passport. I agree with the above comment about Americans wanting to explore their own country first before venturing out. Another reason is that Americans are overworked with least vacation time allowed comparing to other countries.

  25. KT Says:

    I guess this blog is dead with no entries since March 8.

  26. AJ Says:

    I read somewhere that most Americans don’t have a passport – why is that? Is it because its such a large Country with so many states, that you can actually drive to a different state and it’s almost like going to another Country? I’m from the UK, I think we can fit inside Texas. lol

  27. FLITE Air Taxi Says:

    It is amazing how many people are yet to obtain a passport given the world we live in today. Our clients fly international very often, and many times we need to submit for a passport waiver (possible with private aviation) for successful clients of ours who are yet to get one! Seems silly but I suppose with people like us working to get waivers some people have no need to get with the times!

  28. ryan Says:

    I heard that there are more Americans who own Facebook accounts than own passports, sounds believable.

  29. Askaprice Says:

    Does anyone know how long the American passports last?

    Are they lifetime or do they get ripped off like us in the UK and have to pay a fortune every 10 years or so for a new one?

  30. Xights Says:

    Wow I am quite surprised. America is known to have the most number of people travelling abroad. So how come 30% only have passports? I have to agree with the stats of New York and California. It’s usually two of the busiest airports in USA. Most of the international flights are routed there.

  31. Matt Says:

    I was really surprised on the result of this but reinforces what a friend of mine said when here in the Philippines that Americans generally don’t travel outside America. Can understand in many ways why people don’t travel with such a variety of lands and things to see in the U.S. but at the same time there is a whole big world out there.

  32. Darren Says:

    Mark, where did you go? Love your site & hope you return!

  33. James Says:

    Well, taking it’s not really a surprise for me. Those who travel most are usually retired man and women who go away to rediscover the world. “Economically active” people usually travel just on vacations.

  34. jeremy perry Says:

    I’m planning to travel with my family to Chicago for Thanksgiving,i think they’re in here: (http://www.farecompare.com/news/shop-cheap-airfare-for-the-holidays-now/) but does anyone know the best way to get cheap tickets at such a busy time of year for a family of four? I’m really on a budget this year

  35. Silver Coast Portugal Says:

    As a European, this data does not particularly surprise me. Whenever I hear an American accent it makes me take notice as it is pretty unusual. The families I have met here in Portugal and in other places like Turkey and Spain all seem to be loving the experience. Maybe the wanderlust will spread!

  36. Vasco Says:

    I am actually a little bit surprised. At first glance the statistic looks like it came from the late 90s, but the fact that it is actually current clearly indicates that the Americans should “get out more”:)

  37. Drina Murphy Says:

    I don’t know what the price of a passport is in the US but here in the UK they are extortionate and for a family of 5 it is very expensive to get passports! I would love to know what percentage have them in the UK too :)

  38. duke Says:

    In a lot of the world, a traveler can traverse and visit several countries in a single day. (once when visiting Germany I went to a spot where I could stand on the border of 4 countries at one time) It’s so easy to travel in europe, so passports are quite needed. For us Americans, to travel usually means an expensive transcontinental flight. Also if we do travel, we need a lot of time off to make our vacation overseas a value. I’m not going to spend $1200 in airfare for a short vacation. For me it has to be minimum of 14 days. On the other hand a German has a choice to visit close to a dozen countries on any typical weekend for very little money. Also, us Americans don’t just get passports for no reason. We only get them when our travel plans are already planned.

  39. MileCard Insider Says:

    I think I’m going to try and dig through this data by county — probably some fascinating patterns there as well.

  40. John Says:

    They like to keep the passport as ID’s not for Traveling

  41. Nick Says:

    Very interesting and informative stats. I guess it is directly correlated with the income level.

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  43. Becky GlobalGrasshopper Says:

    Very interesting, although not too surprising.

  44. Nelieta Says:

    I am very surprised to see these statistics. I think it must be wonderful to have an American passport. You can go almost anywhere in the world!

  45. Great Northern Hotel Says:

    Actually it is really a too surprising fact that only 30% Americans have passport. But it is also possible that remaining don’t feel a need of passport.

  46. macgreiner Says:

    What happened -this place has gone dead?

  47. Bestbus Says:

    hey, nice post dude, thanks for sharing.

  48. cyrusholiday Says:

    i dont know ,Which Americans have passports, and which Americans don’t?
    but i want to know…pls tell me .

  49. Stella from Mykonos Says:

    70% of Americas’ citizens don’t have passports?? This is unbelievable! Good post!

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  51. Spencer Says:

    The thing is America is such a great country to travel through that alot of people who live there wouldn’t actually need a passport!

  52. Social Travel Website Says:

    Would be interesting to see how the US compares to other countries as well.

  53. Adam Sommer Says:

    Wow, I live in St. Louis (thanks for the mention! haha) but completely understand Missouri’s low ranking. I know a ton of Missourians who have never left the state, much less the country.

    I think a lot has to do with location, and airport availability (NY, ORD, LAX with all the direct international flights)….

    Great article!

  54. Daniel McBane Says:

    This is one of those things where you stare at it for a while,trying to analyze it and find some pattern or draw some deeper meaning from it, but in the end the only conclusion you come to is that Americans need to leave their own country more. Of course that’s easier said than done when you’re deep in debt and you have no job

  55. Jonathan Look, Jr. Says:

    It seems to me that the states with the least passport holders are also the states that talk the loudest and with the most uneducated confidence about world cultures and affairs.

  56. Surminga Says:

    Wow, this is interesting…. Shocking that only 30% of americans hold passports

  57. Marco of UK Tourist Visa Says:

    Mississippi with less than 20%, that is interesting, is Mississippi that a great place to live where most people don’t leave to explore?

  58. Vicky Says:

    Wow – that’s a bit sad isn’t it. I guess with such a big country they don’t feel like they need one. Seems crazy to just stay in one country though!

  59. megan Says:

    I know that in my own family only 2 people have passports.

  60. Gene Says:

    The statistics are shocking. I didn’t realize so few people had passports. Maybe I have overestimated the number of international travelers in the U.S.

  61. Michael Says:

    It makes me wonder why it has low percentage in Americans’ having passport. We know they like traveling around the globe. Some of them even migrate to other countries.

  62. Mike Says:

    This is not true at all. I lived there in New York and almost all of my friends people I know have passports. As a matter of fact, they always go out of the states.

  63. London Blogger Says:

    I know more Americans who have no passport. You know what their reason? They say they don’t have to travel. They’re satisfied with what US has to offer for them.

  64. Visa USA Migration Expert Says:

    This information was written way back in 2011. There might be a huge difference between now compared to last year’s data of US people who has passports and those who don’t.

  65. Derek Says:

    All I can say is: way to go New England.

  66. Visa Hunter Says:

    This is a very interesting graphic. I’m quite surprised Georgia (my own state) has passport ownership that high. Most of my friends have never even been to Mexico or Canada. It is sad that a lot of these people will only ever learn about other countries and cultures visa third-parties or books. The real education is derived by going overseas, tasting the foods and interacting with wonderful people.

  67. Mary Says:

    The post has its own basis why lesser Americans have passports. I’ll do some research works on this information. I’ll get back as soon as I know the real stuff.

  68. Family Holiday Guide Says:

    Americans travel more. I think they are the ones who travel the most in the whole world. What do you think?

  69. French Travel Guide Says:

    I am not an American but I have a lot of friends in the US. As what I observe, more of them have passports and like traveling abroad.

  70. Logcabinsinwales Says:

    I didn’t know that few Americans have passports. I thought they had the more because of their economic and financial status.

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  72. allensharon Says:

    If you live in the world’s most powerful country, why would you feel the need to travel abroad?The world comes to you.Actually it is really a too surprising fact that only 30% Americans have passport. But We only get them when our travel plans are already planned.and it is also possible that remaining don’t feel a need of passport.

  73. Rosy Anny Says:

    According to a new report from the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, only 30 percent of Americans currently have a valid passport . And in 2009, the number of trips outside the U.S. fell by three percent. Compare our stats to those of the well-traveled citizens of Western Europe, or to Canada, where 60 percent of the population have passports. There are a lot of reasons why Americans don’t or can’t travel more — and there a lot of reasons why we should.

  74. Crazy Travel Adventures By Debra Says:

    I’m surprised Texas, with all the oil industry companies, isn’t at the top. There’s a lot of overseas travel in that industry. But perhaps that because the data is based on place of issuance, not origination of travel.

  75. latha Says:

    Your passport must be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you do not need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this. However, it is always sensible to have a short period of extra validity on your passport in case of any unforeseen delays to your departure. You do not have to wait until your old passport expires to apply to renew it. Any time left on your old passport when you apply will be added to your new passport, up to a maximum of nine months.

  76. Paul Krol Says:

    I had no idea the numbers were so low.

  77. katie Says:

    My husband and I just got our first passport 2 years ago… we never had a need before then. I’m not surprised about these numbers.

  78. Exploring Morocco Says:

    Informative article. I guess not that many Americans travel overseas, maybe North America has everything the world has, or is it not?

  79. John Says:

    I’m really surprised the number is so low even crossing the border into Canada requires a passport.

  80. Leslie Horning Says:

    What’s up with Mississippi? Not a lot of passports there. Maybe people in Mississippi are just happy where they’re at and don’t see a need to leave.

  81. Anthony Says:

    Well, the distribution isn’t exactly uniform!

  82. SSP Says:

    where ARE you?

  83. virgil s. Says:

    Looks like the south and the Midwest are not travelers.

  84. Athala Elli Says:

    It seems like the most populous states like California, New York, Texas, Illinois and all have rates above 40% . So how does the entire country average only 30%? All the states less than 30% are deserted.

  85. Compass Says:

    I don’t think the same as your article suggest. I think there are more than 308 millions people who don’t have passport in USA. they couln’t catched.

  86. Athala Elli Says:

    Interesting that this looks pretty similar to the income per capita map. With the exception that the Midwest states make a decent living,

  87. Traveling Mary Says:

    This is great information. I did not know that I fall within the 30% of Americans who own a passport. *Proud owner! I got the passport when I was traveling to the Caribbean and had the best time at Grand Pineapple resort (http://www.grandpineapple.com). Those of you who own a passport, visit the Caribbean and you won’t regret it!

  88. Clayton Says:

    I’m willing to bet that the percentage sounds really low, but 30% of 350 million Americans is still a whole bunch of people. around 105 million people with passports is not too shabby.

  89. Lina Says:

    this is really interesting! But it doesn’t really surprise me overall. I was, however, surprised at the WI and MN numbers. Didn’t realize there was so much international travel coming from that area. Really cool!

  90. The Hopeless Wanderer Says:

    Those southerners are happy where they’re at apparently! lol

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