Ok, so how many UK citizens have a passport?

Having previously found a source for the number of Americans who hold a passport – just 46%. How many UK citizens hold a passport?

The Office for National Statistics has part of the answer. They state, in an analysis of results from the 2011 census for England and Wales, not including Northern Ireland and Scotland.

“Of the 56.1 million usually resident population of England and Wales in 2011, 76 per cent (42.5million) held a UK passport, 7.4 per cent (4.2 million) held a foreign passport only (of which 372,000 were Irish passports). There were 17 per cent (9.5 million) who stated they did not hold a passport.”

So, 83% is the answer for England and Wales. This table from the analysis shows the startling change in population birth nationalities between the 2001 and 2011 census.

Birth nationality table

3 thoughts on “Ok, so how many UK citizens have a passport?

  1. Interesting! But 83% (=76+7.4) is the percentage of all England & Wales residents (regardless of citizenship) with any passport (British or otherwise). We can’t really tell from these data what percentage of Britons held passports, but if you assumed all the people residing in England and Wales were British citizens, then a more accurate estimate might be 82% (42.5m out of 52m). The true answer is presumably higher, though, since there are millions of UK passport holders living outside the UK (and very few UK citizens without passports living outside the UK).


  2. I was amazed as much as 46% of Americans have passports. It’s often quoted that only 10% of them do – but on research it appears whilst that was the case in 1994 (and as low as 4% in 1989 !) it has steadily grown since – especially as since 9/11 they need passports for Canada and Mexio, which accounts for the vast majority of their travel.


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