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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