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Most patriotic states

  • Most patriotic states
    1/ Maxpixel

    Most patriotic states

    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, the United States is a beautiful land full of patriotic citizens. But just how patriotic are they? 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 such as the Washington Monument, the Liberty Bell, Mount Rushmore, and others, yet 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.

    Read on to find out how your state rates in terms of love for the red, white, and blue. 

    ALSO: States with the highest rates of military enlistment

  • #50. Massachusetts
    2/ GoodFreePhotos

    #50. Massachusetts

    Total score: 26.6

    Military engagement rank: 48

    Civic engagement rank: 38

    Dubbed the least patriotic state in the country, Massachusetts landed in the bottom five for veterans per capita. The ranking is somewhat ironic since Massachusetts was the site of the Boston Tea Party, the 1773 event that sparked the American Revolution and the nation's original patriots.

  • #49. New Jersey
    3/ MIchael Vadon // Flickr

    #49. New Jersey

    Total score: 26.7

    Military engagement rank: 49

    Civic engagement rank: 36

    The second-lowest state for military enlistees and falling low on the civic engagement list as well, New Jersey came in second to last. 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.

  • #48. Rhode Island
    4/ Kenneth C. Zirkel // Wikicommons

    #48. Rhode Island

    Total score: 27.24

    Military engagement rank: 42

    Civic engagement rank: 50

    Although declared the third-least-patriotic state in the country by WalletHub, Rhode Island is another example of an "unpatriotic" state that laid a foundation for America's birth. The Ocean State was the first of the 13 colonies to repudiate its allegiance to Britain. As the Rhode Island Society of the Sons of the American Revolution wrote: “Rhode Island responded to [the war for American Independence] with patriotic fervor, enduring the dangers and deprivations of invasion and occupation at home, while sending soldier to almost every major campaign."

  • #47. Illinois
    5/ Coast Guard News // Flickr

    #47. Illinois

    Total score: 27.76

    Military engagement rank: 44

    Civic engagement rank: 49

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

  • #46. New York
    6/ MarineCorps NewYork // Flickr

    #46. New York

    Total score: 29.82

    Military engagement rank: 50

    Civic engagement rank: 25

    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 the lowest in the country for military enlistees. 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.

  • #45. Connecticut
    7/ US Coast Guard Academy // Flickr

    #45. Connecticut

    Total score: 35.3

    Military engagement rank: 47

    Civic engagement rank: 18

    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. California
    8/ Presidio of Monterey // Flickr

    #44. California

    Total score: 36.66

    Military engagement rank: 38

    Civic engagement rank: 39

    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.


  • #43. Michigan
    9/ Joe Ross // Flickr

    #43. Michigan

    Total score: 38.74

    Military engagement rank: 43

    Civic engagement rank: 19

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

  • #42. Pennsylvania
    10/ Public Domain

    #42. Pennsylvania

    Total score: 39.81

    Military engagement rank: 45

    Civic engagement rank: 17

    The Keystone State lands among the bottom 10 due to poor military enlistment, but if historical patriotism was a factor, Pennsylvania would be near the top. The state is home to the Liberty Bell and served as a temporary national capital from 1790 to 1800, when federal buildings were being constructed in Washington, D.C.

  • #41. Delaware
    11/ Michele Dorsey Walfred // Flickr

    #41. Delaware

    Total score: 41.24

    Military engagement rank: 23

    Civic engagement rank: 48

    It's hard to believe that Delaware, the nation's very first state, is ranked so far down on the list. Delaware, a largely Swedish and Dutch settlement, declared independence from Great Britain in 1776, and become the first U.S. state 11 years later.

  • #40. West Virginia
    12/ U.S. Air Force

    #40. West Virginia

    Total score: 41.83

    Military engagement rank: 36

    Civic engagement rank: 24

    West Virginia is the home to 165,709 veterans, according to the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance. One of those veterans, Palestine, West Virginia's Private Jessica Lynch, made international news in 2003, when she was captured by Iraqi forces and subsequently rescued by American troops.

  • #39. Indiana
    13/ Abi Skipp // Flickr

    #39. Indiana

    Total score: 41.85

    Military engagement rank: 35

    Civic engagement rank: 33

    The home of Vice President Mike Pence comes in with rankings in the mid-30s for both metrics. Calling itself the “crossroads of America," the state is typically a Republican stronghold, but voted for Barack Obama in 2008.

  • #38. Oregon
    14/ Oregon National Guard // Flickr

    #38. Oregon

    Total score: 41.94

    Military engagement rank: 32

    Civic engagement rank: 37

    One of the most liberal states in the nation, Oregon unsurprisingly ranks low for both metrics of data. The state received tens of thousands of pioneers during the mid-19th century, who traveled the 2,000-mile Oregon Trail route from Missouri and other Midwest regions, driven by the hopes of land, gold, and Manifest Destiny.

  • #37. Kentucky
    15/ FloNight // Wikicommons

    #37. Kentucky

    Total score: 42.2

    Military engagement rank: 29

    Civic engagement rank: 42

    Birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, Kentucky has relatively high military enlistment, but low civic engagement. It is the home of Boonesborough, where frontiersman Daniel Boone faced off with the Shawnee Indians. Kentucky was also the first U.S. state west of the Appalachian Mountains.

  • #36. Tennessee
    16/ U.S. Department of Defense

    #36. Tennessee

    Total score: 42.27

    Military engagement rank: 27

    Civic engagement rank: 45

    During the American Civil War, the state was divided with West Tennesseans loyal to the South and many in the East supportive of the Union. After the state ultimately joined the Confederacy, a segment of East Tennessee pro-Union separatists attempted to create their own state.


  • #35. Louisiana
    17/ Max Pixel

    #35. Louisiana

    Total score: 42.6

    Military engagement rank: 31

    Civic engagement rank: 35

    Home of Fort Polk and the Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana still only has moderate military engagement. The primarily Republican state, which was part of the Confederacy during the Civil War, uses a unique legal system that is based on civil law rather than common law, which is utilized by the other 49 other states. Some scholars argue this is based on French Napoleonic Code, though others dispute this designation.

  • #34. Arkansas
    18/ U.S. Department of Defense

    #34. Arkansas

    Total score: 43.54

    Military engagement rank: 24

    Civic engagement rank: 46

    The birthplace of Walmart and former President Bill Clinton, Arkansas has three military bases and more than 213,000 veterans living in the state.


  • #33. Minnesota
    19/ Ben Franske // Wikicommons

    #33. Minnesota

    Total score: 43.58

    Military engagement rank: 46

    Civic engagement rank: 6

    Minnesota has fantastic civic engagement rates, but its dramatically low military enlistment figure bring its overall ranking down quite a bit. During the Civil War, however, the state supplied about 22,000 soldiers to the Union, and the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry was key during the Battle of Gettysburg.

  • #32. Ohio
    20/ Paula R. Lively // Flickr

    #32. Ohio

    Total score: 44.51

    Military engagement rank: 34

    Civic engagement rank: 22

    Ohio is somewhere in the middle of the patriotism scale—not unpatriotic by any means, but not at the top of the list either. This middle area reflects the voting patterns of the state that is always a strong battleground region in presidential elections. In fact, the Buckeye State boasts the highest percentage of wins for presidential candidates of any state, picking the commander in chief 93% of the time since 1896.

  • #31. Texas
    21/ U.S. Air Force

    #31. Texas

    Total score: 47.81

    Military engagement rank: 12

    Civic engagement rank: 47

    Texas sits near the bottom of the list for civic engagement with only Delaware, Illinois, and Rhode Island 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 110,913 troops and more than 53,321 in reserve forces as of September 2017.

  • #30. Florida
    22/ Public Domain

    #30. Florida

    Total score: 47.87

    Military engagement rank: 18

    Civic engagement rank: 40

    The Sunshine State places decently on the list according to the metrics, but "astronomical" signs of patriotic pride can be seen elsewhere. Florida is home to both Cape Canaveral, where John Glenn launched from to become the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962, and the Kennedy Space Center, where Apollo 11 launched Neil Armstrong as he became the first person to walk on the moon in 1969.

  • #29. Iowa
    23/ Public Domain

    #29. Iowa

    Total score: 48.05

    Military engagement rank: 39

    Civic engagement rank: 8

    Iowa scores high for civic engagement—landing in the top 10—but loses point for its low military involvement. With its abundance of farmers, Iowa played a large role in supporting World War I efforts when “Food Will Win The War" posters were prominent; it became an act of patriotism to help feed the Allied armies.

  • #28. Wisconsin
    24/ Dori // Wikicommons

    #28. Wisconsin

    Total score: 49.05

    Military engagement rank: 41

    Civic engagement rank: 4

    During the Civil War, Iowa offered more than 90,000 soldiers to the Union cause. But as of 2017, the state had only 976 active-duty military personnel enlisted. That low figure keeps Wisconsin in the middle of the pack of the patriotism rankings.


  • #27. North Dakota
    25/ U.S. Department of Defense

    #27. North Dakota

    Total score: 50.09

    Military engagement rank: 33

    Civic engagement rank: 15

    Although North Dakota is midway down the list, there are parts of the state that excel in patriotism. In fact, the town of Mandan won an online vote in 2013, when Rand McNally named it the "Most Patriotic City" in the whole country.

  • #26. Alabama
    26/ U.S. Air Force

    #26. Alabama

    Total score: 50.1

    Military engagement rank: 10

    Civic engagement rank: 44

    Alabama is saved by its high degree of military participation. The state also has a large number of patriotic attractions, which include the Karl C. Harrison Museum of George Washington, the United States Army Aviation Museum, the American Village, and its own miniature Statue Of Liberty.

  • #25. Missouri
    27/ Public Domain

    #25. Missouri

    Total score: 50.16

    Military engagement rank: 22

    Civic engagement rank: 23

    Patriotism is certainly not absent in Missouri. In 2017, the College of the Ozarks announced a mandatory military science course that was aimed at encouraging patriotism among its students. “I think more colleges and universities need to make it their business to be more intentional about teaching about the country, about the military," the college president said at the time.

  • #24. New Mexico
    28/ U.S. Air Force

    #24. New Mexico

    Total score: 50.3

    Military engagement rank: 20

    Civic engagement rank: 30

    Although New Mexico as a whole scores somewhere in the middle 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, becoming the 47th state.

  • #23. Montana
    29/ U.S. Air Force

    #23. Montana

    Total score: 50.7

    Military engagement rank: 17

    Civic engagement rank: 32

    Considered one of the last American frontiers, Montana rose to prominence 1852, when gold was first discovered near Garrison. Ten years later, there were additional discoveries of silver, copper, lead, and coal, driving thousands of miners to the region and ultimately statehood in 1889.

  • #22. Nevada
    30/ Ronnie MacDonald // Wikicommons

    #22. Nevada

    Total score: 51.45

    Military engagement rank: 19

    Civic engagement rank: 27

    Nevada was home to a primarily Republican voting demographic through most of the second half of the 20th century, but its politics began to shift as the population grew. Today Nevada is considered a strong swing state.

  • #21. Utah
    31/ Clément Bardot // Wikicommons

    #21. Utah

    Total score: 51.64

    Military engagement rank: 37

    Civic engagement rank: 2

    Utah does enormously well in terms of civic engagement, coming in second place only after Vermont. However, its low military enlistment figures bring down its overall ranking. Part of Utah's high civic participation could be attributed to the large presence of Mormons in the state, who settled the area in 1847, and are prone to volunteerism and community involvement.

  • #20. Mississippi
    32/ U.S. Air Force

    #20. Mississippi

    Total score: 52.15

    Military engagement rank: 15

    Civic engagement rank: 28

    Mississippi just cracks the top 20, but it does have one standout town. Tupelo, also the birthplace of Elvis, is famous for the patriotic Fourth of July festival it hosts every year. The small town has been named an All-America City five times by the National Civic League.

  • #19. Vermont
    33/ dvs // Flickr

    #19. Vermont

    Total score: 52.21

    Military engagement rank: 40

    Civic engagement rank: 1

    Number one in the country for civic engagement, Vermont is a state full of volunteers, voters, and community-minded citizens. While military involvement is not high today, Vermont was a key player in the Revolutionary War, and the site of the Battle of Hubbardton. The Battle of Bennington is also commonly attributed to Vermont, although it occurred on disputed territory that is now Walloomsac, New York.  

  • #18. Arizona
    34/ Robert Linsdell // Wikicommons

    #18. Arizona

    Total score: 52.84

    Military engagement rank: 13

    Civic engagement rank: 29

    Although it's not in the top 10 for patriotic states according to the study, Arizona has plenty of signs of national pride, one of which is a public charter school in Phoenix with an entire curriculum devoted to patriotism. The Benchmark School requires all students to learn patriotic and civic-minded lessons that include discussing the Pledge of Allegiance, collecting supplies for troops, writing essays honoring veterans, and taking field trips to war memorials.

  • #17. Nebraska
    35/ Tequask // Wikicommons

    #17. Nebraska

    Total score: 53.8

    Military engagement rank: 25

    Civic engagement rank: 14

    Nicknamed the Cornhusker State, Nebraska is full of farmers who played an integral role in the 1890s Populist movement. Omaha was the site of the convention that resulted in the formation of the Populist Party.

  • #16. Maryland
    36/ Maryland GovPics // Wikicommons

    #16. Maryland

    Total score: 53.86

    Military engagement rank: 26

    Civic engagement rank: 12

    Maryland is another state that has more civically minded citizens than it does military enlistment. The state is the birthplace of Francis Scott Key, the 19th century patriot who wrote the “Star Spangled Banner." The song was penned as he watched the “bombs bursting in air" over Maryland's Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, inspiring him to write what would later become the national anthem.

  • #15. Kansas
    37/ Melissa Bower // Wikicommons

    #15. Kansas

    Total score: 54

    Military engagement rank: 16

    Civic engagement rank: 20

    Kansas ranks fairly high in both metrics, landing within the top 20 for both military and civic engagement. The Kansas–Nebraska Act, which opened the land to settlement, served as a precursor to the unrest that would follow in the next decade. The legislation caused acrimony and is often cited as one of the key factors that prompted the Civil War.

  • #14. Oklahoma
    38/ U.S. Air Force

    #14. Oklahoma

    Total score: 55.28

    Military engagement rank: 7

    Civic engagement rank: 31

    Oklahoma has had a long history of military engagement and continues to poll highly in that area. Oklahoma was the site of the Battle of Honey Springs, which is considered by some to be the “Gettysburg of Indian Territory" during the Civil War.


  • #13. New Hampshire
    39/ Marc Nozell // Wikicommons

    #13. New Hampshire

    Total score: 55.52

    Military engagement rank: 30

    Civic engagement rank: 7

    New Hampshire residents have always oozed patriotic pride for being the site of Paul Revere's first, lesser known ride in December of 1774, when he warned locals that the British were coming for weapons. The Sons of Liberty were able to hide cannon and gunpowder, preventing the British from taking control of the ammunition just before the American Revolution began.


  • #12. South Dakota
    40/ Jake DeGroot // Wikicommons

    #12. South Dakota

    Total score: 56.57

    Military engagement rank: 21

    Civic engagement rank: 16

    South Dakota scores in the top half of the list of both metrics, putting its overall score at a respectable #12 on the list. With the faces of U.S. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt carved into the three-acre stretch of stone at Mt. Rushmore, it's no surprise that the state ranks so highly for patriotism.


  • #11. Maine
    41/ Arlington National Cemetery // Flickr

    #11. Maine

    Total score: 58.02

    Military engagement rank: 28

    Civic engagement rank: 3

    Although its military engagement falls on the lower half of the list, the fact that Maine ranks #3 in the whole country for its exceptional civic involvement moves it one notch away from the top 10. In addition to high volunteerism rates, Maine had the nation's highest voter turnout in the 2016 Presidential Election.


  • #10. Georgia
    42/ Georgia National Guard // Flickr

    #10. Georgia

    Total score: 58.76

    Military engagement rank: 4

    Civic engagement rank: 41

    While Georgia does poorly in terms of its citizens being civically engaged, it's a state full of veterans and military families, which sneaks it into the top 10. The Peach State has a long history of military service—especially prevalent during the Civil War, when it sent nearly 120,000 soldiers to fight in the Confederate Army.

  • #9. North Carolina
    43/ Public Domain

    #9. North Carolina

    Total score: 58.95

    Military engagement rank: 6

    Civic engagement rank: 21

    North Carolina was one of the original 13 colonies and was the first colony at the Continental Congress of 1774 to give its delegates the order to vote for independence from Britain.

  • #8. Washington
    44/ U.S. Air Force

    #8. Washington

    Total score: 59.57

    Military engagement rank: 14

    Civic engagement rank: 13

    Washington state scores well in both military and civic engagement, placing it #8 on the list. The Evergreen State was a key player during World War II, as the Boeing company based in Puget Sound manufactured heavy bombers. Nearby ports also provided naval depots in Seattle, Tacoma, and Bremerton that produced war ships.

  • #7. Hawaii
    45/ Public Domain

    #7. Hawaii

    Total score: 61.18

    Military engagement rank: 2

    Civic engagement rank: 43

    In 2017, Hawaii had 36,620 active-duty military personnel enlisted and 9,402 reserve forces. The state also reported 108,022 veterans in the mid-2010 census. It's perhaps not surprising the state, which suffered through the bombing of Pearl Harbor, has such a proudly devoted military community.

  • #6. Colorado
    46/ Public Domain

    #6. Colorado

    Total score: 62.39

    Military engagement rank: 11

    Civic engagement rank: 9

    Colorado excels in military and civic engagement. The lush, green state features some of the most stunning natural beauty in the country—so much so that in 1893, Katharine Lee Bates wrote “America the Beautiful," after an inspirational climb up the famous Pikes Peak.

  • #5. Idaho
    47/ U.S. Air Force

    #5. Idaho

    Total score: 62.99

    Military engagement rank: 8

    Civic engagement rank: 11

    Earlier this year, Idaho residents had cause for extra patriotic pride when a video from the town of Hayden went viral, showing a schoolboy lying to protect the American flag from touching the ground as classmates took it down and tried to fold it.

  • #4. South Carolina
    48/ North Charleston // Flickr

    #4. South Carolina

    Total score: 64.67

    Military engagement rank: 3

    Civic engagement rank: 26

    One of the original 13 colonies, South Carolina has the third-highest military participation in the nation. The state was the site of numerous Revolutionary War battles, including the infamous two-month Siege of Charleston in 1780.


  • #3. Wyoming
    49/ Wyoming National Guard // Flickr

    #3. Wyoming

    Total score: 66.28

    Military engagement rank: 9

    Civic engagement rank: 5

    Wyoming is the only state on the list besides Virginia to land in the top 10 for both patriotic metrics. Initially a fur-trapping state, Wyoming drew miners in the 1860s for its gold, coal, and other precious metals, though it never received the same degree of population boom as Colorado and Montana. The frontier territory was granted statehood in 1890, after the railroad was established.

  • #2. Alaska
    50/ U.S. Air Force

    #2. Alaska

    Total score: 69.98

    Military engagement rank: 1

    Civic engagement rank: 34

    Although Alaska displays only moderate civic engagement, it has the highest military engagement in the entire country, skyrocketing the state to #2 overall. Dubbed “The Last Frontier," Alaska didn't achieve statehood until after World War II, when oil was discovered on the Kenai Peninsula. This prompted President Dwight D. Eisenhower to sign the Alaska Statehood Act in 1958.

  • #1. Virginia
    51/ Public Domain

    #1. Virginia

    Total score: 70.48

    Military engagement rank: 5

    Civic engagement rank: 10

    Virginia is the most patriotic state in the country, according to the WalletHub assessment. Given that it was the first of America's original 13 colonies, and is home of the country's largest Patriotic Festival, this isn't a surprising designation. Known as the “birthplace of a nation," the state is home to Jamestown, the New World's first permanent English settlement. Today, Virginia is also home base for the U.S. Navy's Atlantic Fleet.

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