In a new study released by WalletHub, Colorado ranked fifth as one of the most patriotic states in the country.
Colorado may be a purple state, but Coloradans on both sides of the aisle can agree on one thing: America is awesome.
According to results from a new study, Colorado was ranked the fifth most patriotic state. Researchers scored states' patriotism by looking at two variables: "military engagement" and "civic engagement."
Military engagement measured how integrated the military is in Colorado daily life. The researchers looked at metrics like the size of the veteran population (both in terms of overall size and on a per capita basis) and the number of Coloradans actively serving in the military. Colorado also has six military bases, five of which belong to the Air Force, making the surrounding communities significantly militarily engaged. When all of these factors were examined, Colorado ranked 12th in military engagement.
Civic engagement scores basically measure how much a state's population cares about their community. The researchers looked at a number of variables to measure this, including voter turnout rates, charitable giving, a state's civic education programs, trial and grand jury participation, and even how often residents search for "American flags" on search engines. Colorado was ranked the nine out of 50 in terms of civic engagement.
While there were plenty of states that scored better in both of these categories, when the scores were aggregated, the study found Colorado to be more patriotic than 45 other states. Only Virginia, Alaska, Wyoming, and South Carolina received higher patriotism scores.
The title of the country's least patriotic state in the country belongs to New Jersey, which scored bottom of the barrel in both categories. Only New York had a worse military engagement score.
An interesting trend emerged from the study. The more patriotic a state is, according to the researchers' metrics, the more likely they were to vote for Republican candidates. Obviously, there are exceptions. Washington, for example, ranked just below Colorado at number six and hasn't voted for a Republican President in nine election cycles. While the trend isn't completely proven, the data suggests a correlation between how patriotic a state is and what political party tends to win elections there. Even more interesting is that when you look at the patriotism scores for traditional battleground swing states, the average swing state is more patriotic than the average reliably-red state.
Researchers are looking through the data and trying to find more correlations. Some suggest that socio-economic demographics are an indicator of how patriotic a state's population is. Previous research suggests that people who live in low-income communities are less likely to consistently vote. That alone can negatively affect a state's civic engagement score. Others point to the millennial generation as an indicator, suggesting that patriotism is less popular among them because younger people are less likely to primarily identify as "American."
While this may just be one way of measuring "patriotism," the results just reaffirm what we already know: Coloradans care about their communities.