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Most patriotic states

  • Most patriotic states

    The United States is a beautiful land full of patriotic citizens spread out from the Statue of Liberty in the east to the towering evergreens of the west and all of the amber waves of grain in the middle. But just how patriotic are they, exactly? Are the folks in New York as in love with their country as those in the heartlands of Kansas or the bayous of the south? The U.S. is overflowing with patriotic symbols, whether the Washington Monument or Liberty Bell; but it’s hard to determine from the surface how deeply a particular state bleeds its stars and stripes.

    Every year in an effort to take a deeper dive, WalletHub puts together a list of the country’s most patriotic states, ranking them from most to least. The analysis is based on two key metrics—military engagement and civic engagement. The first figure factors in things like military enlistment and veterans per capita, while the second examines voting rates, volunteer rates, AmeriCorps volunteers per capita, jury participation, and civil education requirements. The figures are weighted to determine an overall score with 100 representing the highest level of patriotism. Each state is then ranked by the total score. Often, these results are quite different; only two states have both metrics in the top 10. 

    We’ve included critical context about each state’s patriotic history: its involvement in major U.S. wars, tourist hotspots, history as a state, and other cultural factors that may contribute to an increase or decrease in patriotism in that state. The rankings have significantly changed from last year; 2018’s winner, Virginia, didn’t even place in this year’s top ten! Every Independence Day, it’s a good idea to take some time and learn more about the history of this country, while also hopefully securing bragging rights for your home state. 

    You may also like: States with the highest rates of military enlistment

  • #50. New Jersey

    - Total score: 21.55
    - Military engagement rank: 48
    - Civic engagement rank: 45

    The third-lowest state for military enlistees and falling low on the civic engagement list as well, New Jersey came in the last place. However, the state was once a beacon of patriotism—it was the site where George Washington fought the British in a series of key battles during the American Revolution and was the third state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

  • #49. New York

    - Total score: 21.63
    - Military engagement rank: 49
    - Civic engagement rank: 44

    Nearly half of all U.S. citizens can trace an ancestor to Ellis Island, having arrived on American soil via New York Harbor. Although the state is the home of the Statue of Liberty, today it ranks lowest in the country for veterans per capita. Ironically, the Battle of Long Island was the largest battle of the entire American Revolution. New York City was also the country's first capital.

  • #48. California

    - Total score: 23.92
    - Military engagement rank: 37
    - Civic engagement rank: 48

    Of all 50 states, only New York and New Jersey have fewer veterans per capita. Yet California boasts the biggest National Guard force in the nation and the state has a slew of military installations from Camp Pendleton to China Lake.

  • #47. West Virginia

    - Total score: 28.39
    - Military engagement rank: 36
    - Civic engagement rank: 42

    West Virginia is the home to 142,694 veterans. One of those veterans, West Virginia's Private Jessica Lynch, made international news in 2003 when she was captured by Iraqi forces and subsequently rescued by American troops.

  • #46. Texas

    - Total score: 28.66
    - Military engagement rank: 11
    - Civic engagement rank: 49

    Texas sits second to last on the list for civic engagement with only Hawaii coming in lower, but the Lone Star state is boosted by its high ranking military enlistment. The proud southern state has the second-highest number of active-duty military personnel with 164,234 troops and more than 53,321 in reserve forces as of September 2017. 

  • #45. Connecticut

    - Total score: 30.37
    - Military engagement rank: 47
    - Civic engagement rank: 34

    Connecticut revolutionary soldiers would have likely never guessed that more than two centuries later, their colony would be ranked in the bottom 10 states for patriotism. In the 1770s, Connecticut had strong anti-loyalist laws in place even prior to the war and was once nicknamed the “Provision State"due to the large amount of food, weapons, and other goods it supplied to the Continental Army.

  • #44. Indiana

    - Total score: 30.53
    - Military engagement rank: 35
    - Civic engagement rank: 40

    The home of Vice President Mike Pence comes in with relatively low rankings for both metrics. Calling itself the “crossroads of America,” the state is typically a Republican stronghold, but voted for Barack Obama in 2008.

  • #43. New Mexico

    - Total score: 30.81
    - Military engagement rank: 15
    - Civic engagement rank: 47

    Although New Mexico as a whole scores near the bottom of the pack on patriotism metrics, the town of Gallup, near Albuquerque, was named the second-most patriotic city in the country by Rand McNally's “Best of the Road" contest. Historically speaking, New Mexico was one of the last to be admitted into the Union, achieving statehood in 1912 to become the 47th state.

  • #42. Michigan

    - Total score: 31.37
    - Military engagement rank: 44
    - Civic engagement rank: 35

    Michigan ranks a bit higher for civic engagement, but its military listlessness drags it toward the bottom of the list. Although Michigan has historically voted for Democrats, in recent years it has shifted to swing state status.

  • #41. Illinois

    - Total score: 31.39
    - Military engagement rank: 41
    - Civic engagement rank: 37

    One of the key players in the Civil War, Illinois supplied more than 250,000 soldiers for the Union Army and launched the political careers of future presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant. The state was historically a swing state, but the election of Bill Clinton in 1992 shifted Illinois to the left. Today the state is considered one of the “Big Three” democratic strongholds alongside California and New York.

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