How Many Americans Have A Passport?
Published on February 09, 2014
Interesting statistics. There seems to be a link between those states that were pro slavery in the early years and the number of passports on issue in those states. I also wonder if the average person in these states know anything about what is going on in the rest of the world. Or is it just simple to keep your head in the sand. Thank goodness I live in a country that views the world as a whole.
Wow, those figures are crazy, I can't believe how few people have passports! To be fair though, I think part of the reason is that America is so big, so there is more diverse cultures and more places to go without leaving the country. Let's say you look at figures of people who have never left their own continent - I'd imagine the number of people who have never left North America would be pretty similar to the number of people who have never left Europe.
Interesting read and actually quite surprising figures. Any idea which country has the highest percentage?
The UK is approximately the size of Oregon and England the size of Louisiana. Most Americans living in Oregon and Louisiana have left their States. So if Texas and Washington State were different countries, these people would be considered to be better traveled? A New Yorker travels 5000 miles and lands in Hawaii, a Key Wester travels 4000 miles and lands in Alaska. Yet because they are still in the US that doesn't count as travel? So absurd.
Maybe they just don't have passports because it's so darned hard to get one!!! My fiancé just applied for a US passport. He was born and raised in the USA and has never been outside the USA in his entire 57 years of life. When he sent in his application (which he did in person) he provided them with a birth certificate and a state-issued ID - which the Department of State website said was required. They wrote to him three weeks after receiving the application stating that the birth certificate and ID card were not sufficient to identify him. He now has to provide AT LEAST FIVE more documents to "assist them in identifying who he is"!!!! These documents have to be OVER five years old! They want marriage certificates from a marriage which ended over ten years ago. They want the birth certificates of his two adult (married) children. They want his medical records. They want a copy of his social security card. He recently renewed his driving licence and they want a copy of that too. If the Department of State is so hard up for investigators who can successfully identify their own citizens, I think they need to start coming down harder on the organisations who issue birth certificates and ID cards and driving licences, instead of coming down on the ordinary citizens! Every dealing I have ever had with any government department in the USA has, honestly, been like dealing with a 3rd world communist country - its like some awful novel by Solzhenitsyn. Unbelievable.
The numbers on the Chinese with passports are skewed since they need exit permits from the government and the difficulty of getting entry visas to other countries. Also, travelling abroad is expensive except for business trips paid by employers and rising middle classes who can afford it.
Can anyone help me to determine the total percent of Americans who had passports in 1961, and the total percent of 18-year-olds who had passports???
Also, the short paid vacation time could be one of the biggest reason for Americans not being motivated for international travel. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annual_leave
Interesting point about the election layover and passports. Also interesting to see such a drop off in 2008. What's that about?
Utah has a relatively high number of passport-holders because of Mormons going abroad on foreign missions.
It's important to remember that 12.9% of the US population is foreign born, and therefore likely to be using a passport issued by a country other than the US.
A passport is far more necessary in Europe, where the next country is always within spitting distance, than in the US, where the next country is hundreds of miles away in most cases. I live in middle Georgia. Canada is 1000 miles from here. Mexico is 1500 miles by land. Every place in Europe is closer to someone in Germany than the Mexican border is to me living in the Southern USA.
Right. If those Americans don't have passports, what kind of documents they have, if any? For instance, a cop stops someone for a document check, what type of document he/she asks for? What document is the most widespread? Thnx
Your research is great! I would like to note that your overlooked Permanent Legal Residents who cannot yet get US Passports (they are not US Citizens nor US Nationals, yes there is a difference) and therefore your numbers are flawed as Legal Residents count as part of the US population. Based on this, you have to start your study over from SCRATCH to get a real percentage, as your numbers are skewed. Sorry to burst your bubble. A good start however. I look forward to the updated results.
Hello Matt if you look at the heat Map for the fattest Americans and the heat Map for the most racist Americans ( Harvard Study) you will also see that Mississippi is at the top of the list.
Most American's don't realise there's a world outside of America. If you watch the news there you'd be forgiven for thinking that. Ignorance is rife.
A more apt comparison would be how many Americans travel to other states in the US vs. how many Europeans travel to other countries in Europe. Keep in mind that all the countries in Western Europe are part of the EU and have automatic access to their neighbors... Have you considered that the size of the US is larger than all of Western Europe, and that the largest country in Western Europe (France) is smaller than the largest US states (Alaska, Texas)? In other words, don't discount the cultural experience of Americans just because we don't leave the country. We have to go farther to get out. :)
your link to show the number of US Citizens with passports shows that only 13,125,829 Americans have passports, not 117,014,020 as you've stated, therefore meaning only around 4% of the US population own a passport or passport card.
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Let's be real. Buying a package holiday and staying in a package holiday resort does not a world traveler make. The brits are specialists at that. They go spend their holidays on a Greek beach among other Brits, get drunk, and then return with a message: "I love Greece."
Really? Then why did you avoid it?
Well I think everyone is overlooking the geography. USA is bordered by only 2 countries and over 2000 miles apart. In some areas in Europe you can easily travel through 4 countries in that same distance.
I have traveled in 45 of the 50 states and that took me many years. The past 6 years I have been traveling abroad and form my view it is much easier to go from country to country due to the distance. I did a backpack trip through Southeast Asia for one month and was able to visit Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, all by land. What 4 countries could i do that in Leaving from the USA???
Also to many Americans believe it is very expensive to travel abroad. Yet I spend less money on a 1 month trip to Southeast Asia than I do for a 1 week trip to Las Vegas.
America is a big place and much to see and do, and the Caribbean is not to far, many cruises are taken by Americans and as of a few years ago didn't need a passport for the trip.
My humble opinion.
I could not have put it any better than that, Thank you. Unfortunately until you travel what your saying most Americans just don't understand. I'm 43 and just started traveling about 3 years ago. I've been to 20 countries and am currently living in Thailand as I don't care to live in the U.S. Anymore. I still love my country but after I started traveling it was like waking up from a coma. My eyes are now open to how the rest of the world thinks and lives. Traveling just makes you more well rounded and helps to take away the prejudices that we learn in the states about other countries, especially from our media. It also makes me more appreciative of what I do have in the states. We have a great standard of living unfortunately we work like slaves to maintain it. I've been to some of the poorest countries in the world and the people are happy for the most part, maybe it's because they don't know any better. They would share there last bit of food with you. People in the states work like crazy and have very little family time. For what?? The bigger house, to have a nicer car than there neighbor. Their deeply in debt and rarely happy despite all the material things they have. How can they afford to travel abroad when they spend all their money on fancy name brand clothes, expensive restaurants, tv's and x- boxes? If you took the money that you just waste on junk every year you could probably pay for the family trip to Rome, Paris, Prague, Vietnam or Thailand places that will change you and your kids forever. The overwhelming view of Americans from the rest of the world is that we are ignorant, don't travel, lazy and fat! I hope that one day we will be respected by the rest of the world again.
I read a few comments dissing the author's statement on how it is difficult for the average American family to travel abroad. Please consider:
Distance an average family must travel from Manchester (central England) in order to go "abroad" = 495 kilometers.Distance an average family must travel from Kansas City (central U.S.) in order to go "abroad" = 1,567 kilometers.
I'm an American who's lived outside of the United States for 18 years. A couple months ago I took my family back to the States for a vacation. During 8 weeks we traveled over 5,500 kilometers as we made a loop starting in east Texas traveling to west Texas, up to northern New Mexico over to Minnesota and back to Texas. We didn't even hit most of the famous areas of the country known to foreigners and we still saw plenty of different and interesting people and places.
My experience has been that most foreigners are completely clueless as to the size of the United States. From criticizing us for not having more trains (a non-stop bullet train from Boston to LA would still take 16 hours), to asking me "I'm going to the U.S. for a couple weeks and want to see the country. Where should I start?" Seriously?
Americans aren't the only ones who show geographical ignorance at times. So please lighten up on us a bit.
114,464,041 people with passports? Every one complaining about how Europe is much better with passports, the 37% statistic is warped. Evan at 37% passport holders, there are still more people with passports in America than any nation in Europe has people, besides Russia.
That's a tough one. I doubt that information is out there publicly, but you can probably make a Freedom of Information Act request for that.
My guess was that it was related to the run-up to the June 1, 2009 requirement for passports to travel to Canada and Mexico (before driver's licenses were sufficient).
That's not true at all Mary. Foreign-born is not the same as illegal immigrant. In fact, over 50% of foreign-born residents of the U.S. become naturalized citizens: http://pewhispanic.org/files/reports/74.pdf.
For my discussion about the impact of illegal residents and the percentage of Americans that have passports, please see my discussion below (the resulting change is basically negligible).
Most countries in Europe are part of the Schengen agreement, so passports aren't really necessary to go from country to country. I think with Americans, it is mostly cost and the fact that a lot of people aren't interested in going abroad.
As Nelson mentioned, there is no "national ID", although the idea has been battered around recently. If you're stopped by a cop, there is no requirement to have "papers," of course if you're operating a vehicle you are required to have a driver's license.
Drivers license. I have a non-driver ID from the dept. of motor vehicles. Many countries have national ID cards. People don't walk around with passports.
The other "missing" number is that his numbers overstate % by a few points because I've averaged 5 passports in 30 years, not 3 in 30. How? My first two were when I was young enough to have them not last 10 years. I also had one lost, and I've renewed most before expiry, sometimes up to a year before, depending on upcoming trips and visa transfers, if any.
But effects like that shouldn't change state proportions, which was the interesting result, just the total number, and probably not by enough to matter.
Well, at most maybe 10 million illegal residents were estimated to be included in the census, which would result in a negligible percentage change (maybe 1% increase). However, I don't think it would be wise to change the calculation based upon "estimated" numbers.
Very good point. But it's pretty clear that the poorest, least educated states are also travelling the least. Strong correlation in my opinion.
Sam: Passports are valid for ten years. That statistic shows how many were issued in 2011, not how many total valid passports are in existence (for that I added up the most recent 10 years worth of numbers).
We're not all like that- it's a stereotype. Ok there are people that do it but then there are many that don't.
Actually, you're missing Mary's point here: if 13% of the "legal" US population is foreign born (I haven't double-checked that figure), when most of those ppl become naturalized they overwhelmingly retain a dual citizenship. So they might travel on their "other" non-US passport + they're much more likely to travel than US-born citizens (to visit relatives abroad, plus they've already relocated, often across continents, so chances are they *enjoy* travelling).
For instance, about 1/2 of the population of NYC was born abroad, but of course only a small percentage of those ppl are illegal immigrants.
Similarly, about 1/2 of PhDs awarded by US universities are earned by ppl born abroad (whether they are or not naturalized), and in this case the percentage of illegal immigrants is quasi-null + quite a few stay in the US afterwards (brain drain, better chances of employment, met spouse/had kids during their many years of study etc.)
Also, since getting a passport is actually easier than getting a State ID, and since a passport is almost useless as proof of ID (e.g. it won't be accepted even in major stores to write a check), ppl will only get one iff they plan on travelling, and happily let their passport expire when not needed (ex: Most of my relatives from the Midwest have traveled much more than the avg American, incl to live abroad in Asia and Africa, and almost all those born after 1975 spent at least one semester abroad, but 3 months, and if possible how does that compare with the EU, Australia etc?
Comparing with a few EU countries might prove tedious though, bc you can't rely on ownership of a valid passport (ex: even pre-Schengen, any French citizen could travel pretty much through all of western Europe + Turkey + some former colonies on an expired passport or on an ID card).
The 50% of foreign-born residents who have not naturalized will have a non-US passport. In addition, even many who naturalize still retain their non-US passports (there is an oath of renunciation in the naturalization ceremony, the the US government currently does nothing to enforce it).
I don't see your problem with Mary's comment. She wasn't saying or implying anything about illegal immigration.
Dude, you are not counting on the many millions of LEGAL residents. ALL WHOM carry FOREIGN PASSPORTS by definition.
I'm not sure I understand your point; do you mean they're poorer and so can't afford to travel or that they're less educated and so choose not to travel? For myself, I tend to believe that it's more the economics driving the lack of passport/travel, which in turn is caused by lack of education (and therefore lack of high-paying job opportunities...). But I'm not sure what point you were trying to make so maybe we're saying the same thing.
For children under 16, passports are valid for only 5 years. I know this because I just filed for a renewal of my 5-year-old's passport.
Because of international child abduction legislation, both parents and the child all have to physically show up together at the Post Office during its laughably short office hours. It's a royal pain to co-ordinate with work, school, and childcare for siblings.
It looks like you missed the point. Why spend money on something that nearly half of the US will be unable to afford to even use.
Passport doesn't only equal interests in other cultures, countries and languages it also equals dealing in other countries for jobs . For example. I live in Texas and work for a company that has four different district locations just in the Dallas/Ft Worth area. But this same company has only 13 district locations in ALL of Europe. We in certain cities within the area and occasionally travel to other states but our European counterparts may have districts that work three or four countries at a time. A Passport is required for them, not so much for me.
If ever become rich or something and have thousands of extra dollars to spend to go somewhere in the world then I'd get a passport and do it.
Also, Puerto Rico has interesting Cultures and languages, So does the Samoan Islands, The Virgin Islands and Hawaii. And Americans don't need passports to travel there.
My point is there's more to this passport topic than the closed minded stereotypical view that you're holding on to.
David: I don't understand what you are saying. The census counts residents of the U.S. whether they are citizens or non-citizens. Are you saying since this post is based upon U.S. passports, it's excluding non-citizens living here with foreign passports? If so, excluding illegal residents, that essentially limits it to those with visas to live here as students or workers. Though there are quite a bit, statistically it's quite small and would probably make even less of a difference than the change when including illegal residents (if you're living here and are from abroad, you are either illegal or have a visa -- and you eventually leave or become a legal resident, which would then require you to have a U.S. passport.)
Actually I find it WAY cheaper to stay OUTSIDE of the US and work online. I can live in paradise for $500 a month, that's if I stay away from the other gringos. Oh yeah, that's WITH full health insurance.
I agree with you. They need to spend the money on food, clothing and housing and can't afford the thousands of dollars it costs to go abroad.
Maybe your company has 4 different locations in Dallas because it's main operations are there? Wow, what kind of logic is that? Most companies have stronger presences in their home country.