Since March 10 is Passport Day 2012 in the USA, I went looking for trends on passport adoption.
Is it because until recently Americans wanting to visit their 2 neighbors, Canada and Mexico, could do so with only a piece of ID and a birth certificate or because with a country so vast as the USA, there are many distant destinations one can visit without crossing any border?
Statistics from the State Department on number of passports issued for past 5 years are:
2011 - 12,613,153 (includes 1,173,092 passport cards)
2010 - 14,794,604 (includes 1,556,392 passport cards)
2009 - 14,170,171 (includes 1,544,718 passport cards)
2008 - 16,132,536 (includes 189,560 passport cards)
2007 - 18,382,798
Except for slight increase in 2010 (compared to 2009), there has been a yearly decline over that time period.
Long term trends reflect a big change though.
Same statistics from State Department show increase over 10 years:
Numbers from 1989 (first year quoted) look paltry at 7,261,711
If you are one the 63% or so passport proscatinators, today is your chance to change that, some facilities are opened until 6 PM.
Check locations in your state by visiting Passport Day official site.