[quote=“TpeBob”][quote=“Loretta”]I’ve often heard figures quoted like “only 4% of Americans hold passports,” usually by people explaining why they think Americans are parochial and uninformed about the rest of the world.
I’ve just read that the number is much greater: An estimated 25% of the US population, or 78 million people, currently hold a passport.
It was in the BBC, so it must be true. Anybody know for sure? How would you find out?[/quote]
Apparently they now need one to visit some neighbouring countries whereas previously a driving licence would suffice. That might explain the increase in passport holders.
The story I linked to was about how the new law is being put on hold due to the huge demand making it impossible to supply the passports quickly enough. This means that a) the 78 million already had their passports, and b) a great many more Americans do travel to neighbouring countries but did so without a passport in the past.
So the idea of Americans not travelling may not be very accurate.
How many Europeans crossed borders without a passport before the borders were done away with? What percentage of Europeans hold a passport? I’ve no idea, but I bet there are plenty of Frenchies who have never needed one. Brits have always needed a passport to go anywhere, so it’s easy to assume that anyone who doesn’t have a passport never leaves Springfield, but if 25% of a population has a passport even though it’s not needed to cross nearby borders then Americans may be a good deal more mobile than everyone else gives them credit for.
Of course, once they leave their own country their behaviour still leaves a lot to be desired. They don’t match the panache and worldly sophistication of the average Brit in Bendorm, for instance.