The map above shows which states require front and rear license plates vs those that only require rear license plates across the US. Overall, the majority of US states (62.75%) and a majority of people (62.73%) live in states that require both.
And in case you’re wondering about the two exceptions they are:
- Massachusetts: Since 1988 all vehicles have been required to use front and rear plates. However, license plates issued since 1978 remain valid, thus older cars were grandfathered into the system.
- Nevada: Display of the front license plate is optional for vehicles that either are not specifically designed to have a front plate, or the manufacturer did not provide a plate bracket or other means for front display of a license plate. As a result of this discrepancy, the law to display both the front and rear plates is rarely enforced, and it is not uncommon for owners of vehicles with Nevada license plates to remove the manufacturer-supplied front license plate brackets from their vehicles and display only the rear plate. (source: wikipedia)
The full list of states with rear only license plate requirements are:
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
Note: Puerto Rico also only requires a rear license plate.
All other states including Washington DC and US Virgin Islands require both front and rear plates.
Interestingly, America’s next door neighbour doesn’t exactly follow America’s trends. While the majority of Canadians (57.31%) live in a province requiring both a front and rear license plate only 4 out of 13 (30.77%) of provinces and territories require both.
Only the following 4 provinces require both (in order of population):
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
The following 9 provinces and territories only require rear plates:
- Nova Scotia
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Prince Edward Island
- Northwest Territories
Looking for license plate related gifts? Then have a look at the following:
- Past Time Sign License Plate Map
- Melissa & Doug License Plate Game
- Ultimate Sticker Puzzles: License Plates Across the States:Travel Puzzles and Games!
- License Plates of the United States: A Pictorial History, 1903 to the Present
- Search other license plate related gifts on Amazon
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Liberalism Is A Mental Disease says
I’m just wondering if your State or Province requires you to have only 1
plate,…how does that work when driving through States that require 2
No problems at all. You may even get to evade cameras that rely on a front plate to enforce tolls and other fines.
If you choose to relocate to a two-plate state/province then of course you’ll have to register your car and install a mounting bracket on the front to comply with local laws.
daniel komis says
alot of nyers have florida plates to avoid tolls altogether
I’ve wanted to know, and been looking around to find information about it. I live in New-Brunswick, which doesn’t require front license plates since last year actually.
Blank Reg says
I have a car registered in PA, which now resides in OR. This has not been a problem. In fact, PA has even eliminated annual registration stickers!
I would just say that considerably more than 57% of Canadians are required to have front and rear license plates. Ontario and Quebec on their own make up more than 60% of the population, BC is another 12% and New Brunswick is almost 2% of the population.
Quebec only requires a rear plate, New Brunswick has changed the law and will only require a rear plate. Also Ontario is currently looking into removing the front plate as well.
As of July 15, 2019 New Brunswick no longer requires a front plate.
Ohio is set to become the 20th U.S. state to drop the front plate requirement on July 1 of this year.
Paul Cormier says
Your maps for Canada are not correct any more. New Brunswick does not require 2 plates as of 2020. Finally!!!!!!!
Now that Ontario has eliminated plate stickers is it okay to drive in other provinces/states ?
https://www.wkbn.com/news/ohio/new-ohio-law-eliminating-front-license-plate-takes-effect/ In 2020 Ohio got rid of the front license plate requirement
https://www.adn.com/politics/alaska-legislature/2022/08/22/alaska-drivers-only-need-single-license-plate-with-new-law/ Alaska in 2022 just became the 21st state to no longer require front license plates