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How many US passports are in circulation?

There are 160.7 million valid US passports in circulation as of September 2023, according to data from the State Department. That represents a 5.8% increase from 2022 and a 36.8% increase from 2013.

There are almost half as many passports in circulation as there are Americans, with 0.48 passports per person. However, because applicants can own both passport books and passport cards, the actual number of individuals with valid passports is lower than the total number of passports issued.

What is a passport card?

The State Department has issued passports to Americans traveling abroad since the 1700s. In 2008, it introduced passport cards, a smaller and more affordable alternative that allows American citizens to travel to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and Caribbean countries by land or sea. A passport card can’t be used for air travel over international borders.

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Passports issued each year

The State Department issued over 24 million passports in fiscal year 2023 (October 1, 2022, to September 30, 2023), the highest total in a single year in 50 years of available data. This figure includes 20.5 million passport books and 3.6 million passport cards.

Passport issuances dipped by 43.4% decline from 2019 to 2020 but have since surpassed pre-pandemic annual totals.

Which states’ residents received the most passports in 2023?

In fiscal year 2023, residents of New Jersey were issued 766,830 passports — about 8.3 per 100 residents, the highest population-adjusted rate of any state. New Jersey was followed by Massachusetts (7.7), Hawaii (7.6), and New York (7.5).

Residents of Washington, DC, were issued 37.6 passports per 100 people.

Total passports in circulation

The total number of valid passports in circulation has risen from 7.3 million in 1989 to more than 22 times that figure in 2023 at 160.7 million. Adjusted for the population, valid passports — including both passport books and cards — have increased from 0.03 per capita in 1989 to 0.48 in 2023.

As of 2022, international travel hadn’t returned to pre-pandemic levels

In 2022, there were 80.7 million international visits made by US residents to other countries, with 33.5 million (41.5%) of those visits to Mexico and 15.8 million (19.6%) to Europe. This amount of international travel marked a 65.7% increase from 2021, when there were 48.7 million departures from the US, but it remains 18.7% lower than the 2019 total of 99.3 million visits.

Through October 2023, Americans had made 81.7 million international visits in 2023. This trend signifies a 24.1% year-to-date increase but remains below 2019’s pace.

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