One of the things I’ve often heard while living in the European Union is the meme that only 10% of Americans own a passport. This assertion is usually followed by the quazi-urban legend that George W. Bush never had a passport before becoming president. This I’ve never been able to prove or disprove any satisfaction Which, it turns out, is not true.
Such a low number wouldn’t have surprised me. After all, the United States is nearly thrice the size of the EU and borders only two foreigncountries, while the EU is made of 27 countries and -- depending on how you want to count them -- borders another 19.
I wondered aloud about this in my previous post, ‘Work in Progress: The United States Explained’ and a commenter, Alison, was nice enough to bring this data set about passports from the ever-awesome data.gov to my attention.
The data was only for the past four years, so I had to do some estimates based on issue rates and the 2000 census numbers, but the result is the above infographic and the table below:
Population with Passport
(If you’re the kind of person who really cares about the details, you can see all the calculations on my United States data spreadsheet please let me know if there are any errors)