As July 4th approaches, Americans find various ways to express their patriotism, from displaying flags and attending parades to voting, joining the military, and working to improve their communities. This sentiment, encapsulated in the love for one’s country while striving to better it, is particularly highlighted on Independence Day.

To identify where patriotism thrives in the U.S., WalletHub analyzed the states based on 13 key indicators of patriotism. These indicators include military enlistees, veterans, voter turnout in the 2020 presidential election, and AmeriCorps volunteers per capita.

“The most patriotic states have a high number of residents serving or having served in the armed forces, significant voter participation, and a large portion of the population volunteering with national or local organizations,” said Cassandra Happe, a WalletHub analyst. “Patriotism isn’t confined to one area – top states are spread across different geographic regions.”

In the rankings, Utah placed 19th overall, scoring top marks in Volunteer Rate, U.S. History or Civics Education Requirement and Volunteer Hours per Resident. Utah also ranked 3rd in AmeriCorps Volunteers per Capita. 

However, Utah ranks 46th in Veterans per Capita and 48th in Peace Corps Volunteers per Capita.

Neighboring states also performed well, with Colorado ranking 6th, Wyoming 11th, Arizona 15th, and Idaho 20th. Nevada ranked 39th.

When considering characteristics of a good patriot, Glenn Altschuler, Thomas and Dorothy Litwin Professor of American Studies Emeritus at Cornell University, looks to a definition shared well over 100 years ago.

“The characteristics of a good patriot in a democracy,” Altschuler explains, “were best expressed by Senator Carl Schurz in the nineteenth century: ‘My country, right or wrong. If right, to be kept right. If wrong, to be set right.’”

Sheri Parks, Ph.D., a community strategist, reflects on the enduring American spirit.

“The American spirit is one of optimism and ‘can-doism.’ Even in the face of horrendous odds, we have kept at it. Surveys suggest that we are losing our optimism, but it would be a great shame and self-defeating movement. We should be teaching our children to be Americans—the best of America—in the world. The U.S. still holds a unique position in the world. We are who we are because of that spirit.”

WalletHub’s evaluation of the most patriotic states considered “Military Engagement” and “Civic Engagement” across 13 metrics. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the highest level of patriotism, culminating in an overall score to rank the states.



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