Total number of licensed drivers in the U.S. in 2017, by state
Licensed drivers in the U.S. - total number by state 2017
This statistic represents the total number of licensed drivers in the United States in 2017, with a breakdown by state. In 2017, there were a little over 520,000 licensed drivers in the District of Columbia.

U.S. licensed drivers by state

The driver’s license became mandatory in the United States in the early 20th century, with Missouri and Massachusetts being the first states to require an official license for operating certain types of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, passenger vehicles, trucks, trailers or buses. New Jersey became the first state to require all drivers to pass a mandatory test before being granted an official driver’s license.

In 2016, there were about 225 million licensed drivers in the United States. At around 26.8 million, California issued the highest number of licenses in the country that year. Not only is California the U.S. state with the highest number of licensed drivers, but it is also the most populous state in the U.S. overall, representing close to 12 percent of the country’s total population. While 95 percent of residents aged 65 to 69 held a driver’s license in 2012, the percentage of U.S. driver’s license holders between 20 and 24 stood at only 76 percent in that same year.

When it comes to accidents, people aged 21 to 24 are most at risk. Across all age groups, the male population has substantially higher death rates than the female population.
Total number of licensed drivers in the U.S. in 2017, by state
Number of licensed drivers
California26,777,132
Texas17,099,340
Florida 15,076,358
New York 12,185,313
Pennsylvania8,964,855
Illinois**8,529,404
Ohio 8,011,705
North Carolina7,389,467
Michigan 7,095,778
Georgia 7,060,344
New Jersey 6,301,363
Virginia 5,926,430
Washington 5,768,281
Tennessee 5,377,653
Arizona 5,164,966
Massachusetts4,935,176
Indiana 4,553,584
Maryland 4,329,503
Missouri 4,274,784
Wisconsin 4,234,793
Colorado4,156,138
Alabama 3,954,378
South Carolina 3,810,962
Louisiana 3,425,656
Minnesota 3,394,815
Kentucky 3,019,008
Oregon 2,910,592
Connecticut2,586,994
Oklahoma2,505,989
Arkansas 2,417,464
Iowa 2,246,829
Mississippi 2,053,924
Kansas2,029,869
Utah 1,995,377
Nevada 1,918,305
New Mexico 1,473,262
Nebraska*1,404,479
Idaho1,190,367
West Virginia 1,148,786
New Hampshire 1,103,624
Maine 1,032,703
Hawaii951,008
Montana 807,259
Delaware770,512
Rhode Island 753,202
South Dakota628,506
North Dakota 561,667
Vermont 560,247
Alaska*534,585
Dist. of Col. 521,056
Wyoming 422,465
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Sources

Release date

November 2018

Region

United States

Survey time period

2017

Supplementary notes

* State did not provide current data. Table displays 2016 data.

** Age and /or sex distribution estimated by FHWA using Census population figures for that State and age group.

Licensed drivers in the U.S. - total number by state 2017
This statistic represents the total number of licensed drivers in the United States in 2017, with a breakdown by state. In 2017, there were a little over 520,000 licensed drivers in the District of Columbia.

U.S. licensed drivers by state

The driver’s license became mandatory in the United States in the early 20th century, with Missouri and Massachusetts being the first states to require an official license for operating certain types of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, passenger vehicles, trucks, trailers or buses. New Jersey became the first state to require all drivers to pass a mandatory test before being granted an official driver’s license.

In 2016, there were about 225 million licensed drivers in the United States. At around 26.8 million, California issued the highest number of licenses in the country that year. Not only is California the U.S. state with the highest number of licensed drivers, but it is also the most populous state in the U.S. overall, representing close to 12 percent of the country’s total population. While 95 percent of residents aged 65 to 69 held a driver’s license in 2012, the percentage of U.S. driver’s license holders between 20 and 24 stood at only 76 percent in that same year.

When it comes to accidents, people aged 21 to 24 are most at risk. Across all age groups, the male population has substantially higher death rates than the female population.
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