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Number of countries visited by U.S. presidents 1906-2020

During the nineteenth century, it was frowned upon for a sitting U.S. president to travel overseas and to liaise with foreign leaders or monarchs, as it was believed that foreign customs and attitudes to leadership could have a negative impact on the mindset of the president. However, as the U.S. emerged as an international superpower in the twentieth century, foreign trips by the president became integral to establishing and cementing the U.S.' influence across the globe. The first U.S. president to travel overseas while in office was Theodore Roosevelt, when observing the construction of the Panama Canal in 1906. Since then, the frequency of international trips and number of destinations has increased gradually, and has been facilitated in improvements in air transport and infrastructure. The number of countries visited by a sitting president peaked at the turn of the millennium when presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush visited 73 and 75 individual countries respectively. When put in the context of the time spent in office, the president who visited the most countries was George H. W. Bush, who visited 38 countries during his one term in office; this works out at 9.5 different countries per year (just slightly more than his son's annual average).

Number of individual countries visited by each U.S. president (officially, unofficially or while vacationing) between 1906 and June 2020

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Source

Release date

2020

Region

United States

Survey time period

1906 to 2020

Supplementary notes

*As of June 2020.

All visits to now-defunct countries or former-colonies have been recorded in their current form (i.e. visits to French Algeria or to Ukraine during the Soviet era have been recorded as Algeria and Ukraine respectively). Current overseas territories, such as Bermuda (British) and Martinique (French) have been recorded separately from their metropole. Non-UN states have been recorded as individual countries, they are; Kosovo, Palestine, Taiwan and the Vatican City.

The majority of the information came from the individual entries for each president on the linked source. Data for President Trump is incomplete on the Department of State website, therefore a number of other sources have been used to compile this information.

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