States Issuing the Most and Least Passports, Showcasing Which Residents Want To Travel Internationally

Nearly half the U.S. population held valid passports in 2023. That’s an over 22-fold jump from 1989, when only 7.3 million valid passports were in circulation, equating to a 0.45 increase per capita after accounting for population changes.

That said, according to data, residents in some states appear more interested in or able to travel internationally than others. These are the states that issue the most and least passports.

Travel Bug

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USA Facts gathered data from the U.S. State Department to determine the states where residents applied for the greatest and fewest number of passports. All numbers in the following ranking are for passports issued in 2023 based on the number of passports per 100 residents. Do you live in a state with one of the highest number of passport issuances in America?

1: New Jersey

New Jersey.
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Passports issued: 8.3 per 100 residents

More Americans received a new passport in New Jersey in 2023 than in any other state, with 766,830 passports issued. The Garden State is home to Newark Liberty International Airport, which offers direct flights to over 50 countries. Given that small airports far from large metropolitan areas tend to be more expensive to fly from, New Jerseyites can often snag cheaper international flights than Americans from many other parts of the country.

2: Massachusetts

Lighthouse at sunset in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.
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Passports issued: 7.7 per 100 residents

With Boston Logan being an international airport hotspot in Massachusetts, it’s no wonder so many Bay Staters are passport holders. Several airlines offer nonstop service from Boston to London, with the flight time being an easy-breezy 6.5 hours.

3: Hawaii

Sea turtle in Hawaii.
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Passports issued: 7.6 per 100 residents

Many Americans dream of vacationing in Hawaii, but it appears that lots of Hawaiians are interested in leaving their Aloha State to travel abroad. Given its relative proximity to countries like Japan, Hawaii is a great base for exploring Asia.

4: New York

Solo female traveler in NYC.
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Passports issued: 7.5 per 100 residents

New Yorkers join their New Jersey neighbors in having international wings on their feet. Although many Americans envision LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports when they think of traveling internationally from NY, Upstate New York also has several airports offering direct international flights.

5: California

Highway 1 and Big Sur coast, California.
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Passports issued: 7.2 per 100 residents

California offers its residents several high-traffic international airports to start their globetrotting. Los Angeles International Airport is The Golden State’s biggest airport, with over 60 million travelers passing through it each year. San Francisco and San Diego also offer many international flights.

6: Connecticut

Shore in Connecticut.
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Passports issued: 7.2 per 100 residents

Bradley International Airport might not ring a bell to Americans who don’t travel often. But to the many Connecticuters who received a passport last year, you can bet they’ll be making use of it to help them start their international adventure. Connecticuters can fly directly to a handful of destinations, such as Dublin, Ireland, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

7: Maryland

Maryland State House in Annapolis.
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Passports issued: 7.1 per 100 residents

Baltimore/Washington International Airport is the primary base for Maryland’s passport holders wanting to travel abroad. Sixteen nonstop international options exist, including Frankfurt, Germany, and Panama City, Panama.

8: Colorado

Colorado trail.
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Passports issued: 7.0 per 100 residents

Whether Coloradans want to escape snowy winters or try their hand at skiing abroad, one thing is certain: Traveling abroad is in demand for Centennial Staters. Denver offers the only international airport in the state, with direct flights to 13 destinations abroad.

9: Washington

Mt. Rainier in the backdrop in Washington.
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Passports issued: 6.8 per 100 residents

With the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport a gateway for traveling to Asia, it’s no wonder that so many Washingtonians received passports in 2023. Travelers wanting to head East are in luck, too; Paris, Amsterdam, and Dubai are some of the many nonstop flight options.

10: New Hampshire

Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
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Passports issued: 6.7 per 100 residents

New Hampshire rounds out the top ten states with residents that received the greatest number of passports in 2023. That said, New Hampshirites don’t have as easy access to international destinations as other states on this list so far, so they often have to spend more travel time to arrive at their destination.

11: Florida

Melbourne, Florida.
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Passports issued: 6.6 per 100 residents

Whether it’s to escape the heat or head away from the snowbirds, Floridians were issued a high number of passports last year. International airports like Miami, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, and Tampa are hubs for destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America.

12: Virginia

Forest in Shenandoah National Park.
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Passports issued: 6.6 per 100 residents

Virginia is one of three states tying with Florida for the number of residents per capita that received passports in 2023. Virginians have the unique benefit of being home to Dulles International Airport, which serves the Washington, D.C., area. The result? Residents have access to over 60 nonstop international flights.

13: Utah

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Passports issued: 6.6 per 100 residents

Utah joins Florida and Virginia in the number of passports issued in its state. The Salt Lake City Airport is the main international airport in Utah, offering nonstop services to about a dozen international destinations, including Vancouver, Canada, and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

14: Rhode Island

Rhode Island lighthouse overlooks Atlantic Ocean at sunrise.
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Passports issued: 6.5 per 100 residents

As the tiny state it is, many Rhode Island passport holders use the T.F. Green International Airport for their getaway abroad. That said, almost all residents must have at least one layover, for T.F. Green’s international options are limited.

15: Alaska

Flowers in Alaska.
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Passports issued: 6.2 per 100 residents

Depending on where Alaskans live within The Last Frontier, it can cost them a pretty penny to arrive at an international airport to embark on their trip abroad. Nevertheless, it doesn’t appear to be stopping residents from arriving at the Anchorage and Fairbanks airports, both of which offer international flight options.

16: Illinois

Farm in Illinois.
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Passports issued: 6.1 per 100 residents

The Chicago O’Hare International Airport makes it a breeze for Illinoisans living near Chicago to travel to most regions of the world. Travelers can pick from around 95 nonstop international flights to over 50 cities every day.

17: Minnesota

Canoe on lake in Minnesota.
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Passports issued: 6.1 per 100 residents

Minnesota residents don’t seem to blink an eye at not having as big of an international airport as Illinois; The U.S. government issued Minnesotans the same number of passports per 100 residents. Those flying out of Minneapolis-Saint Paul can head to destinations like Montreal, Canada, and Cancun, Mexico.

18: Vermont

Vermont mountain with snow covered trees and ski slope.
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Passports issued: 6.0 per 100 residents

Vermont shares its border with Canada, meaning that Americans can apply for a passport card to cross by land. But they clearly want to travel by air, too, based on the relatively high number of passports issued to Vermonters last year. That said, most Vermont residents need to fly to a larger airport hub before connecting with an international destination.

19: Oregon

Oregon coastline.
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Passports issued: 5.9 per 100 residents

Oregon offers two international airports for its residents: Portland International and Rogue Valley International Medford. Travelers can escape cold winters by flying to Guadalajara, Mexico, or head to Vancouver, Canada, for more snowy fun.

20: Texas

Flowering cactus.
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Passports issued: 5.9 per 100 residents

Texas abounds with international flight options for its many passport holders. Some of the airports offering the greatest number of international flights include those in Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio. Whether Texans have their eyes on Latin America or Europe, there are direct flight options.

21: Nevada

Rock in Nevada.
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Passports issued: 5.9 per 100 residents

Las Vegas is a hub for people wanting to visit Nevada, but it’s also a great option for residents wanting to travel internationally. Seoul, South Korea, and Tel Aviv, Israel, are options, not to mention international destinations from airports like Reno/Tahoe.

22: Delaware

Houses in Bethany Beach, Delaware.
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Passports issued: 5.8 per 100 residents

Delaware ranks just beneath Nevada for the number of passports issued last year. However, its residents have fewer choices for direct flights to international destinations. So, it takes a little legwork (and quite possibly extra money) for many Delawareans to travel abroad.

23: Maine

Bass Head Light in Acadia National Park, Maine.
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Passports issued: 5.7 per 100 residents

Maine has three different airports with “international” in their names. However, they primarily serve domestic destinations, meaning that most Mainers traveling abroad must have at least one layover to arrive at their destination.

24: Georgia

Oak trees by a water fountain in Savannah.
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Passports issued: 5.6 per 100 residents

Georgia is home to the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which has been named the busiest airport in the world. Naturally, Georgians who live near Atlanta have loads of international direct flight options. Istanbul, Turkey, and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, are among them.

25: Idaho

Mountains in Idaho.
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Passports issued: 5.4 per 100 residents

In stark contrast to Georgia, Idaho residents don’t have nearly as many opportunities for direct international flights. That didn’t stop many residents from applying for a passport, though. Idahoans may find themselves having a layover in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and the like before flying to their final destination.

26: Pennsylvania

Rural Pennsylvania.
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Passports issued: 5.2 per 100 residents

Pennsylvania offers several international airports, with Philadelphia having the greatest variety of direct international flights. Doha, Qatar, and London, England, are among them.

27: Montana

Autumn in Montana's Glacier Park.
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Passports issued: 5.2 per 100 residents

Montana is the second of four states with 5.2 passports issued per 100 residents. Despite several of Montana’s airports having “international” in their names, they mostly serve domestic destinations. So, Montanans need to be prepared for one or more layovers to arrive at their international destination.

28: Wisconsin

Cows in a pasture.
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Passports issued: 5.2 per 100 residents

Similar to Montanans, Wisconsinites may need to jump through some hoops to arrive at the dreamy international destination they want to visit. For example, the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport serves certain destinations on a seasonal basis, such as Montego Bay, Jamaica, and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

29: Arizona

Arizona canyon.
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Passports issued: 5.2 per 100 residents

Arizona is the final of four states with 5.2 passports issued last year per 100 people. That said, it’s easier for Arizonans to travel internationally from airports like Phoenix Sky Harbor, which offers nonstop service to over 20 cities abroad.

30: North Carolina

North Carolina road winding through Appalachian Mountains in autumn.
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Passports issued: 5.1 per 100 residents

North Carolina is proof that the number of direct international flights from a state doesn’t always correspond with increased passport demand. Charlotte-Douglas International is one of the busiest airports in the world, with 1,400 domestic and international flights arriving and departing daily, averaging 118,000 people passing through its gates every day.

31: Nebraska

Toadstool Geologic Park.
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Passports issued: 5.0 per 100 residents

Nebraska only has one airport that’s considered a major U.S. airport, the Omaha Eppley Airfield. Not only does this airport just offer direct domestic flights, but their options become even more limited for certain domestic destinations, depending on the season.

32: Wyoming

Sun setting behind snowcap mountains in Wyoming national park.
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Passports issued: 4.7 per 100 residents

Wyoming residents are hard-pressed to find direct international flights in their state. In almost all cases, they must fly to a larger airport, such as in Denver or Salt Lake City, to connect with an international flight.

33: North Dakota

A bison grazing in North Dakota.
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Passports issued: 4.7 per 100 residents

Don’t let the “international” in three of North Dakota’s airport names fool you; they primarily serve destinations within the U.S. So, passport-holding North Dakotans will need to head to cities like Dallas or Las Vegas to catch a flight abroad.

34: Michigan

Waterfall in Michigan surrounded by fall foliage.
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Passports issued: 4.7 per 100 residents

As seems to be the trend this low on the list, Michigan residents usually need to fly to a larger city before traveling internationally. That said, the Capital Region International Airport in Lansing offers seasonal international flights, including to Cancun, Mexico, and Montego Bay, Jamaica.

35: Kansas

Tornado over a field.
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Passports issued: 4.6 per 100 residents

Kansans have many options for traveling domestically in the U.S., where they can connect with an international flight. The largest airport in Kansas is the Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport. It offers flights from Las Vegas to Washington, D.C. and was named the third best small airport in America.

36: Iowa

Corn field with windmills in Iowa.
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Passports issued: 4.6 per 100 residents

The Des Moines International Airport is the largest airport in Iowa. Unfortunately for Iowans with the desire to globetrot, they almost always have to fly to a larger city within the U.S. before continuing on to their final destination.

37: South Carolina

Live oak tree in South Carolina.
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Passports issued: 4.6 per 100 residents

South Carolina is home to several airports, but all of them are small and far from having a hub-like quality. Of The Palmetto State’s airports, Charleston Airport is the biggest and busiest. However, March 2024 will be the first time that Charleston serves a daily international flight. The destination? Toronto Pearson International Airport in Canada.

38: Ohio

Youngstown Mill in Ohio
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Passports issued: 4.4 per 100 residents

Cleveland Hopkins and Port Columbus are some of Ohio’s biggest airports. Ohioans with passports can travel to places like Nassau, Bahamas, and Dublin, Ireland.

39: South Dakota

Mount Rushmore.
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Passports issued: 4.3 per 100 residents

Sioux Falls Regional Airport offers South Dakotans the chance to fly abroad, but they first need to fly to a connecting city. Luckily, the airport offers flights to international hubs like Los Angeles and Chicago.

40: Missouri

Fishing in a river.
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Passports issued: 4.3 per 100 residents

Missourians wanting to travel abroad have limited direct flight options. Kansas City International is the state’s largest airport, where residents can fly directly to a limited number of international destinations, such as Cancun, Mexico.

41: Indiana

Indiana Statehouse.
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Passports issued: 4.2 per 100 residents

Indiana is the first state to rank in the bottom ten states for the number of passports issued per 100 residents last year. The Hoosier State has a handful of airports with “international” in their name. However, Indianans have limited direct international flight options compared to residents of some states.

42: Tennessee

Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee.
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Passports issued: 4.2 per 100 residents

Nashville International is the busiest airport in Tennessee. However, Canadian destinations are about as international as it gets for this airport, with some Canadian routes even being seasonal.

43: New Mexico

Desert in New Mexico.
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Passports issued: 4.1 per 100 residents

Traveling abroad from New Mexico isn’t the quickest, given that residents almost always need to fly to a different U.S. city for a layover. Of New Mexico’s airports, Albuquerque International Sunport is the largest, with airlines like Southwest and Alaska Airlines operating from it.

44: Oklahoma

Bison grazing.
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Passports issued: 3.8 per 100 residents

The Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City is Oklahoma’s largest airport, but the word “world” in its name is a bit of a misnomer. Currently, there aren’t any nonstop international flights from Will Rogers.

45: Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana.
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Passports issued: 3.6 per 100 residents

Louisiana globetrotters are luckier than residents in several states we’ve covered; they have a handful of direct international flight options via the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. London, England, and Cancun, Mexico, are among them.

46: Kentucky

Kentucky sunset over Appalachian Mountains and lake.
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Passports issued: 3.5 per 100 residents

Although the Louisville International Airport doesn’t offer international flights at this time, Kentuckians can head to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport for some direct flight options. The airport serves several Latin American destinations and a couple in Europe.

47: Alabama

Beach in Alabama.
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Passports issued: 3.4 per 100 residents

Traveling abroad from Alabama is relatively time consuming, given that some of its major airports like Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Huntsville International don’t offer nonstop services to destinations abroad.

48: Arkansas

Arkansas aerial view of mountains and river.
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Passports issued: 3.3 per 100 residents

The Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport is Arkansas’ biggest airport. Unfortunately for passport holders in Arkansas, they first need to fly to a hub like Miami, Los Angeles, or Laguardia before continuing to their overseas destination.

49: Mississippi

Swamp area in Mississippi.
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Passports issued: 2.7 per 100 residents

Mississippi residents aren’t only limited in the number of international destinations they can fly nonstop to, but their domestic options are relatively limited as well. The Jackson-Evers International Airport, a major airport in Mississippi, doesn’t currently offer international routes.

50: West Virginia

Train tracks in West Virginia.
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Passports issued: 2.6 per 100 residents

West Virginia had the fewest passports issued to residents per capita. The Mountain State doesn’t have any massive airports, and only four airlines operate one to three routes each from the West Virginia International Yeager Airport.

Airport Accessibility

Luggage belt.
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Although there isn’t a perfect correlation, generally speaking, Americans living in states with more options for direct international flights tend to have higher rates of passport issuance of the more than 24 million passports that the State Department issued in the 2023 fiscal year.

International in the Name

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The reason that many U.S. airports can get away with having “international” in their name without offering any international flights is that they have customs and border control facilities in place. In some cases, airports may have aspirations to serve nonstop flights to international destinations, and in other cases, they might already do so but with cargo-only flights.

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Passports allow Americans to travel via planes to anywhere in the world where American passports are accepted. In contrast, passport cards are a more economical passport-like option, allowing Americans entry into Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and Caribbean countries via land and sea only.

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